When most people hear the words breast cancer chances are they think of a woman, but as we know, men can develop this form of cancer too, even though it’s relatively rare. Ensuring that men are aware that breast cancer can be a risk for them is essential in order to catch the condition early and maximize chances of a good outcome. Campaigns targeting men are vital. According to a recent article in the Journal of International Medical Research, public education programs and promotional campaigns of breast cancer screening are believed to have resulted in better prevention, screening and detection of cancer at an earlier stage.
Know the symptoms
Tumors in men differ from those in women so it’s vital to know what to look out for. Most tumors in men appear in the breast tissue right behind the nipple or in the surrounding pigmented area, known as the areola. Common symptoms are: a hard lump behind or near the nipple (or in the armpit); a change in appearance of the nipple (maybe turning inwards) or of the areola; discharge from the nipple or sores/ulcers on the nipple. Men with concerns need to have the confidence to see a doctor – and to insist on a referral to a breast cancer clinic.
Late diagnosis is dangerous
According to exerts, lack of awareness of male breast cancer is the main reason why men tend to be diagnosed in more advanced and less treatable stages. Bottom line, men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is lower and they are less likely to think a lump might be breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment. The more the message gets out there the more lives will be saved.
Awareness raising events are vital
We need more individual men who have had the condition to speak out and lead campaigns; men diagnosed with breast cancer can feel stigmatized and isolated and there is a real need for a community to enable male patients to communicate and share their experiences. June is Men's Health Awareness and October is designated across the world as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and men need to hear the message too. If you want to be part of any Breast Cancer or Men's Health Awareness Month movement, you can get involved by throwing a male breast cancer fundraising event. You might want to host it at home, work, school, church – the options are endless. HIS Breast Cancer Awareness can assist as well with receiving donations and an informative male breast cancer and BRCA pamphlets.
Time to add to the pink ribbon?
With focus on breast cancer rightly now including men, perhaps it is time to drop some of the pink and adopt a more gender-neutral color. Men who might once have kept quiet about their diagnosis are now as motivated to raise awareness as their female peers. Perhaps half the pink ribbon should be blue –
Tips for holding a male breast cancer fundraiser:
Consider basing the fundraiser around a sporting event.
Set a minimum donation amount and put it on the invite.
Provide multiple ways to donate, whether it be cash or via a direct link to the charity’s website; the key is making it easy for people to give money!
Talk about your reasons for throwing the fundraiser; a personal angle is always more compelling.
Sell tickets for the event and tell guests that proceeds are going to a male breast cancer charity.
Use social media platforms to help spread the word and attract more attendees. You can even add a HIS Breast Cancer Awareness Donate Button!
It’s time to change the ‘pink focus’ and spread the word that breast cancer can happen to men too. Ultimately, greater understanding and awareness around this issue can reduce stigma and save lives so how about stepping up and get involved? Holding a male breast cancer fund-raiser or driving an awareness campaign may be easier than you imagine and a whole lot of fun into the bargain. So what are you waiting for?
Best of Health,