Men get breast cancer too…

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 Hat-tip to @sarasiobhan on Twitter.


2 thoughts on “Men get breast cancer too…

  1. Wasn’t it reported some years ago that the actor Tom Cruise was allegedly diagnosed with breast cancer? It is very rare, but it is very possible.

    I suppose most males would find it rather alien to check their man-boobs for lumps and bumps, and it would be hard for such men to actually visit their GP if they were to actually find any anomalies there. I bet there is still a large number of men who will put off seeing their GP if they found a problem with their “meat & two veg” never mind their breasts.

    Of course it doesn’t help if these men have a GP who gives them the impression that they care little for their patients health and I bet there are many of those GPs about too!

    Embarrassment isn’t unique to the male sex though because in years gone by I’ve asked ex-girlfriends and close women friends about their body checks, and most said that they were very reluctant to have the plethora of tests available to them conducted, especially the smear test as they said that they couldn’t live with the possibility of finding out that they were indeed suffering with such serious diseases. Some said that they asked for a female to conduct their tests only to find that a male would do it instead once they arrived at hospital.

    On a personal note, I always check myself and got into this habit many years ago after being advised by a veterinarian surgeon to check my dogs’ bodies over for lumps and bumps every month. Doing this has saved and extended the life of at least three of my dogs in the past 40+ years. Unfortunately, I now find this hard to do these checks on my present dogs due to my very poor mobility. I do what I can but it’s no longer as comprehensive as it once was.

    • The “ignore it and it’ll go away” theory is very popular, and there’s a technical term for people who carry this to extremes. Dead.

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