Usually when we think of breast cancer, the gender that comes to mind is female. However, breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease. Male breast cancer does occur. This is because men also have breast tissue that can develop into breast cancer. Although most common in older men, it can occur at any age. For some men, it may never even cross their mind to check for lumps in their breasts.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be both shocking and upsetting no matter what the person’s gender. Among other things, having a strong support system is key in coping with the disease. And as with any disease, early detection improves the chances of it being successfully treated. As the American Cancer Society’s Web site points out, certain factors come into play: (1) breast size and (2) lack of awareness.
Since men have very little breast tissue, it is easier for them and their doctors to feel small masses. However, this means that the cancers do not have to grow very far to reach the nipple, the skin covering the breast, or the muscles underneath the breast. So, although the breast cancers found in men tend to be slightly smaller than when they are first found in women, more often, they have already spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes.
Because breast cancer is common among women and rare among men, women tend to be more aware of the disease and the possible warning signs, whereas men are prone to ignore them and may not seek advance medical treatment.
When we are suffering, it is good to have someone there by our side to help us through. (Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10) The support we need can come in many forms. Naturally, it begins with the family but can also include others as brought out here on another page of the American Cancer Society’s Web site.
So as we near the end of October, let us not forget that breast cancer is an ongoing battle, and those fighting the battle need our ongoing love, support, and encouragement–both male and female.
From my heart to yours,