Breast cancer in males is a rare condition that according to the National Cancer Institute, is accountable for less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases. Research shows that about 1,910 men are diagnosed each year and, of those, 23 percent are killed by the disease.
This is compared to about 192,370 new cases in women a year and more than 40,000 deaths. In 2009 the male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in Men joined together to globally establish the third week of October as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
Most breast cancer cases occur by chance; however, breast cancer does occur more than usual in some families because of their genetic make-up.
Although breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men, it has a tendency to strike men between the ages of 60 and 70. Nevertheless, men of younger age groups can be affected as well.
In addition to family history, other risk factors include elevated body weight, exposure to radiation, taking estrogen as part of a sex change and having a disease related to high levels of estrogen. These are all conditions that we should look for as individuals with such history.
As we all know, this is the month in which we raise the awareness of everyone in the nation that this disease is common among women and is a deadly disease if not treated properly.
Even though it’s a rare condition for men, we should also take pride in supporting the movement because we are affected as well and we need to make a difference.
In addition to being college students, we are members of our community and society first. Making charitable donations every October will help awareness of the disease, funding research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure for breast cancer. Any other contribution that can be made should be acted upon.
It is your life, your treatment and your decision. The more information you have, the more educated your decisions will be.
Whether you have a family history of breast cancer, have been tested genetically or just want to take precaution measures for a healthier life, take the initiative to get involved. Let’s stand out in society as the university that makes a change. Support the “Pink” movement and let’s change lives.
Percell Johnson is a senior psychology major from New Orleans.