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Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Men get breast cancer too

Posted at 7:38 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 15:23:35-04

Owen Toale says every morning when the gets up he looks at the bottom of his feet and there is no expiration date there, so he goes on with day. Owen Toale is a breast cancer survivor. He says one day his wife said to him, “you have that inverted nipple. I think you should get it checked.” He did. He went for an ultrasound and then a mammogram and when he was walking out the doctor reading the films told him, I think you have breast cancer. Owen says it took me aback quite a bit because men don’t get breast cancer but when you stop to think about it, men have breasts too. But it is rare. According the to the CDC, men make up only about 1% of those diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tracey O’Connor, MD, breast service department of medicine Roswell Park says in the United States every year there are about 2,600 cases of breast cancer in men and when you compare that to 284,000 or so cases in women it is a big disparity.

Sandra Washington-Copeland, breast cancer widow says other men couldn’t believe her husband had breast cancer and even other women when she told them were like “really?”. She lost her husband to breast cancer several years ago. He had been diagnosed with breast cancer before and gone through treatments, but it came back. She said he was scared, and we had different philosophies but then again this wasn’t happening to me, so I allowed him to be the person he wanted to be. It was metastatic stage four cancer, so he just said, I’m probably going to die and so I just want to live right now and that was his philosophy.

What do you say to people who are afraid to seek treatments? Dr. O’Connor says I would encourage people to seek treatments because most of our treatments are so readily available, they are curative so, everyone diagnosed usually has many, many options especially if the cancers are caught early.

Dr. O’Connor says one of things that is very important for men to understand is that they can get a breast cancer and certainly if they notice any lumps or skin changes or nodularity’s they should absolutely refer it to their physicians. Dr. O’Connor says she has been taking care of breast cancer patients for over two decades and during that time the advances we have had in our treatments and patient outcomes is astonishing, it’s amazing. There are so many new medicines in this space and so much more knowledge about how better to manage patients to enhance their quality of life.