Most often, breast cancer is considered a woman’s disease.
But most do not think that men are also susceptible.
And while there is not enough public awareness regarding male breast cancer — men can easily miss out on the early warning signs.
Breast cancer in men can include a lump in the breast tissue which is usually hard and painless — as well as swelling in the chest area. Other signs are nipple discharge – which can be bloody – as well as inverted nipples.
Men need to know they are not alone when it comes to breast cancer — and one man wants others to know just that.
In December of 2013, Andy, 47, had received a breast cancer diagnosis after he experienced a “sharp pain” in his left nipple earlier in the year.
And when it came back (and with some prodding from his wife) he knew that it was time to see a doctor.
Andy considers himself “lucky,” as the cancer had not spread anywhere else in his body.
But that being said, he shares how he would have acted sooner if he had been more aware about inverted nipples. He continued on to say he had been unable to detect a lump — as men have less breast tissue than women to feel for abnormalities.
Andy went through both a mastectomy, chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy.
Andy shared how he now creates a conversation about male breast cancer with other men — even while at the barbers.
“I had my first haircut towards the end of the year, after I’d had treatment. And it was just a bit thin, and the barber said something like, I don’t know, it was very thin. And I said, ‘yeah, it’s only just grown back from chemo’. And he was like, ‘oh right, you’ve had chemo? What was that all about?’ And I said, ‘breast cancer’. He said, ‘breast cancer! On men?’ […] And I was paying, and he came running out of his back room to say, ‘I’ve just checked my nipple, it’s alright, don’t worry about it!’”
Andy has also helped bring awareness on a bigger scale.
He has modeled in Breast Cancer Care’s The Show London 2017 and has also participated in a abseil — which is when one “descends a rock face or other near-vertical surface by using a doubled rope coiled round the body and fixed at a higher point.” according to Google dictionary.
Andy shared with UNILAD how creating a conversation as well as raising money was so important at events like these.
“People who are there [at the show] are sort of aware, a lot of people in the audience knew people who were part of the show, or knew people who had been affected by breast cancer.
So they knew that men get breast cancer. The abseil I did was through work, so everyone was doing stuff for different charities.
And people would say, ‘so what are you raising money for?’ I said, ‘Breast Cancer Care. Because I’ve had breast cancer’. ‘You’ve had breast cancer?’
So you know what I mean? It’s getting it out there.”
While male breast cancer sufferers receive the same type of medical treatment as women for their tumor — men usually face a different set of challenges to women due to a lack of awareness.
There is still not enough research into male breast cancer as there are a lower number of male sufferers.
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