Men get breast cancer, too
Photo: Image by ABC News
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV/ABC NEWS) - The number of men who get breast cancer is relatively small, but often it's more deadly. Doctors says that's because men so rarely expect they're prone, their dianosis comes too late.
"I don't think men ever think to check for lumps in our breasts", one man claimed.
And that's exactly what KGTV anchor Bill Giffith thought, until it happened to him. In 2004, he was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"You can be masculine. You can be normal in every way, and it can still get to you," Griffith said.
Breast cancer is relatively rare among males. Though this year alone, 2,200 men will be diagnosed. More than 400 will die.
"While a much less frequent disease in men, it doesn't make it any less important to be aware of changes in your body," noted Dr. Steve Lubutti, with the Monifiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care.
Men should pay patricular attention to these warning signs:
- A lump in or around the breast
- Changes in the skin surface or texture
- Nipple discharge
- A dimpling of the nipple
"The main misconception with repsect to men and breast cancer is the idea that men don't have breasts, so how could they possibly get breast cancer?" Dr. Libutti said.
There are risk factors: a family history, certain types of liver disease, and genetic links. If a man carries a BRCA mutation, like Angelina, Jolie, his risk increases for breast, prostatie, and pancreatic cancers, as well as melanoma. Odds he'll pass that gene on to a son or daughter: 50%.
Bill Griffith considers himself cured.
"It's a little tough with the scarring even though it's not as bad as a woman would feel. I feel very uncomfortable. I never take my shirt off in public".
A lesson to all men doctor say -- educate yourselves, and leave the myths ans stigmas behind.