Breast cancer affects men, too

Emily Kazungu

Did you know it is possible for men to develop breast cancer?

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. People forget this fatal disease affects men as well. Though the disease affects a small percentage of men, they are still humans and have loved ones somewhere who want them to be healthy.

I observed the month of October closely and realized most of the outreach for spreading information on this type of cancer includes only women, including all of the posters and advertisements I saw. I Google-searched “breast cancer,” and the first page of results only had two male images.

By the end of 2015, 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 440 men will die from it, according to American Cancer Society.

Unfortunately, men with breast cancer often experience feelings of embarrassment after receiving the diagnosis, according to the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition.

“Some men feel they may be ridiculed or that their masculinity will be questioned because they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer,” according to the site.

The website goes on to say friends and family are much more likely to support those afflicted with cancer than ridicule them.

Perhaps surprisingly, men with breast cancer are less likely to survive the disease than women, according to the U.S. National Cancer Data Base. Therefore, we should not take this matter lightly.

The lives of men and women are equally important. Both men and women suffering from breast cancer should get the same attention and awareness.

Both men and women are born with breast cells and tissues. Doctors typically detect breast cancer in men as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola, according to National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Richard Roundtree, also know as “Shaft” and dubbed the “first black action hero,” was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993. He underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Roundtree has since been educating people about breast cancer and challenging the misconception men cannot get breast cancer, according to Coping with Cancer.

I invite each and every one of you to raise awareness about the fight against breast cancer not only for women, but also for men.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Action expresses priorities.” We truly should make it a priority to spread breast cancer awareness about both men and women.

That one person out there who lost a brother, a father or a friend to breast cancer will appreciate knowing people care about them, too. Lets keep talking about this.