Our Health: Breast Cancer in men: What you need to know – Alton Telegraph

Posted: October 13, 2019 at 5:45 pm

PEORIA People often think of breast cancer as a disease that exclusively targets women. While it is true that a great majority of breast cancer cases are women, Doctor Jessica Guingrich, a medical radiologist for OSF HealthCare and the Susan G. Komen Breast Center, says the disease doesnt discriminate against men.

Men and women both have breasts, so men and women can both get breast cancer. Its just significantly less common in a man because of the way their breasts develop, compared to the way a womans breast develops, said Dr. Guingrich.

Breast cancer in men is rare; about 1% of all breast cancers are diagnosed in males. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2019 about 2,670 invasive breast cancers will be diagnosed in men, and 500 men will die from the disease.

65 year old Allen Smith of Canton is part of that 1%. Smith, a prostate cancer survivor, was going through testing when a CT scan found an area of density in his chest wall. Doctors recommended a mammogram, which was a strange request to Smith.

I thought, everybodys going to look at me. Theres a guy coming in here, you know hes going to have a mammogram or whatever, and I felt a little odd, he said. I wasnt embarrassed by it, but I just felt a little odd because, you know this is kind of just like a new thing. I mean, you just dont hear of this.

Soon after his scan at the Susan G. Komen Breast Center in Peoria, Smith was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer.

You could have knocked me on the floor with a feather, said Smith. I had no idea. I had no lump, I had no problem whatsoever there that I knew of.

Because of the rarity of breast cancer in men, many dont know the signs of a potential problem. Dr. Guingrich says a lump in the breast area, usually behind the nipple, is the main symptom for men to look for.

Its important to get that lump checked out because in a man, that lump, if it is a cancer, just has a greater chance of getting into the chest wall and into the muscle, into the nipple, into the lymph nodes much quicker than in a female because there just isnt much tissue buffer around a mass thats developing, she warned.

Men can also experience skin dimpling or puckering around the breast area, nipple retraction, redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin, or even discharge from the nipple.

Dr. Guingrich also says, as in women, family history of breast cancer needs to be considered for men. Both Smiths mother and grandmother had breast cancer.

If a man has a really strong family history, or if a man maybe has a family member who is a BRCA gene carrier, its really important to be aware of that risk, said Dr. Guingrich. You need to talk to your doctor about what can be done. A man should consider having genetic testing perhaps if they have a very strong family history of breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, the best strategies for reducing the number of deaths caused by the disease is early detection and prompt treatment.

Smith says, there is no reason to delay if you think you have a problem.

If you think theres something wrong with you, follow up. Dont think youre going to bother the doctors, dont think youre going to be a pain, follow up. Get it checked, Smith urged.

Dr. Guingrich agrees.

I think the important thing is that if a man notices a change to just be reassured that the physicians at breast facilities are there to help and to solve problems and give reassurance that things are okay, and if something needs to be biopsied, then we biopsy it and try to make it as comfortable of an environment as possible, she said.

OSF Saint Anthonys HealthCare recently opened the OSF HealthCare Moeller Cancer Center at 2200 Central Ave., Alton.

Link:
Our Health: Breast Cancer in men: What you need to know - Alton Telegraph

Related Post

Comments are closed.

Archives