About The Blue Wave

judah125“My husband was 30 when he was diagnosed. He was healthy and athletic. Even a member of his family with medical training dismissed the early signs causing him to ignore a lump he had felt for a year and a half. He died 13 years later. There is no telling what things might have been with early detection…” – Alexis Gubbay

There is a widespread misperception that breast cancer is only a woman’s disease. But men can also get breast cancer. The tissue in the chest region is the same whether you call it breasts or pecs.

“Six years ago male breast cancer changed my life. I credit my presence to a strong circle of family, friends, doctors and other people who influence my life. I encourage anyone with breast cancer or any other debilitating illness to remain positive and evaluate where you can improve your life.” – Roy Peppard, West Caldwell, NJ

You may be interested to know that:

  • The American Cancer Society’s estimate for annual Male Breast Cancer diagnoses has increased 66% since 2005.
  • Male Breast Cancer is rare and accounts for only about 1% of all breast cancers.
  • A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020, about 2,620 new cases of Male Breast Cancer will be diagnosed and that it will be the cause of approximately 520 deaths. This rate grows annually.
  • Cancer.ca estimates that in Canada, in 2019, there were 230 new cases and was the cause of death for 55 men.
  • Survival rates for men are about the same as for women with the same stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. Unfortunately, it is often undiagnosed until later stages due to lack of awareness.
  • 27% of men with breast cancer will die from the disease compared to 19% of women related to the lack of awareness and later detection. What puts men at risk?

What puts men at risk?

  • Men over 65, but anyone can get it
  • African-American
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Those exposed to radiation therapy
  • Estrogen treatment
  • Obesity
  • Those with a family history of breast cancer
  • Genetic mutations
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Alcohol
  • Liver disease
  • Testicular conditions
  • Certain occupations

Having some of these risk factors does not mean you will get breast cancer just as it is possible to get male breast cancer without any risk factors.

“I had a discharge and went to the hospital and they dismissed it as a staff infection which would go away after taking antibiotics for 10 days. It did not. My physician ordered a mammogram (I didn’t know men had breasts) and that saved my life. Don’t ignore your body. If you see something out of the ordinary, go for an examination. Don’t ignore it. It may not be something that will just go away.” – Marc Futterweit, Wayne, NJ

What are the symptoms?

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Treatment can involve the following:

  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy
  • Mastectomy, which is surgery to remove the breast

What to do if you have a concern?

  • Talk to your doctor immediately, do not wait. The key to beating it is finding it early.
  • At each annual exam speak with your doctor and have him/her do a clinical breast exam.