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2009 Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Men can get it too


© Carla F. Castagno |

Everything Breast Cancer is pink because 99% of all breast cancers occur in women.  But that leaves out a whole percent, or roughly 2000 men who are diagnosed and treated for breast cancer and 500 who die each year.

How does a man get breast cancer?  The actual cause, like most cancers, is unknown, but it's believed that such things as radiation exposure, age, abnormal hormone levels, liver disease, and genetics play a role in predisposing one to this condition.

What are the symptoms?  Just like women, the breast changes.  Lumps can occur, as well as thickening or dimpling of the skin around the breast or nipple.  Discharge can also happen, because although small, breast tissue is present in the male body.

Why does this matter?  Because the mortality rate for men is higher than it is for women.  An article in the British Medical Journal estimates male deaths at 31% and female deaths at 20%.  And that is most likely related to the public's lack of knowlegde that men can get breast cancer, too.

Men should be perfoming monthly breast exams, because the best survival rates of male breast cancer is a direct result of early detection.    Here is a video demonstration on how to do one properly.


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