Suspect you have cancer – it can be difficult to go for testing

As a woman, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for a man who suspects he has breast cancer

Image result for symbol male breast cancerThis was boought home with the shocking news that 15 men, including police and firefighters, who were at or near the World Trade Center on that fateful day of 9/11 have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Men can get breast cancer but it’s very rare. Around 390 men are diagnosed each year in the UK (compared to around 55,000 women).

In these days of having to tip toe around PC-speak, why isn’t there a more sensitive word to describe this condition?  As a woman, Breast Cancer is something I could discuss with friends, but if I were a man, not keen to go to the GP, I don’t think I would like to make an appointment to discuss breast cancer.  Nor would I be keen to discss what was wrong with me when I met my mates down in the pub.

Do men have breast tissue?

Many people don’t know that men can get breast cancer because they don’t think of men as having breasts. In fact, both men and women have breast tissue, although men have much smaller amounts than women. Breast cancer in men is cancer that starts in this small amount of breast tissue, but treatment is the same:  chemo, surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

Dignity

Knowing that the NHS often can forget to treat us with dignity (remember how it was patient-power that forced closure of  mixed-sex wards), I just hope men with breast caneer are treated with dignity.  What it must be like to be the only man in the Breast Cancer Outpatients clinic …….

 

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