I suppose, because there has been a degree of publicity about it, that many men know that testicular cancer can be cured if caught early. Well, it also killed 69 people in 2009 (last year for which records seem to be available for some reason). More worrying, perhaps, is that 77 men died of breast cancer in the same period. (Source.) Hat-tip to @helenlewison Twitter.
And I’m willing to wager that precious few of you reading this know that breast cancer in men is even possible.
The only reason I know is that, having been ill all my life, it’s given me an interest in all things medical, and I stumbled across the fact when I was 16, reading about the history of open-heart surgery. Most men don’t know though, and that means most men don’t check for lumps.
And before you come over all macho and get carpet burns from dragging your knuckles, ALL men carry a little breast tissue – it just hasn’t developed (the sexuality of a developing foetus can go either way, initially). Women have an organ homologous to the penis, the clitoris, if it makes you feel any better. No big deal, the human body, male or female, has a random assortment of bits and pieces it no longer needs.
It follows, logically, then, that if one has breast tissue, it is possible to fall victim to breast cancer. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen and, like the female version, it can kill, though it’s not as traumatic physically or psychologically, I’d think, if found early.
So guys, as well as checking your nuts for mystery lumps (yes, I know they’re lumpy, but you should be familiar with what’s normally there and what’s new, it’s not that hard), and while you’re at it check your tits for lumps too. No mystery there – if you have a lump, get it looked at. And let’s have no, oh, it’ll go away on its own nonsense – by the time you figure out it’s not going to, it’s probably too late – if it metastasises (spreads to other organs), you’re in deep shit. OK?
Check this out too http://www.healthtalkonline.org/Cancer/breast_cancer_in_men Hat-tip to @sarasiobhan on Twitter.