OCTOBER is recognised as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of early detection.
There is, however, a lack of attention given to males who are affected by breast cancer.
Breast cancer among men has the same prognosis as women, and likewise depends on the stage of the disease when it is detected.
The problem with male breast cancer is that because it is often not looked for, and there isn’t normally mammograms done on men, it most times presents itself as an invasive cancer rather than a pre-invasive cancer.
Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting treatment.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A mass that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can also be tender, soft or rounded and even painful. For this reason, it is important to do regular breast self-exams and have any new breast masses or lumps found during self-examinations checked by your doctor, even if you are a man.