Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had no idea that men could get it. And yet, they do.
Adiba shares some statistics:
Another note about men, as fathers, men carry the genes that can be passed on to their daughters and sons and raise the risk of developing breast cancer. Often, women believe that if breast cancer isn’t prevalent in their mother’s family, they are “safe,” but this is not true. We each get 50% of our genes from our biological father and 50% of our genes from our biological mother.
So, what can be done about addressing the risk of breast cancer in men?
First of all, I believe that both parents need to have genetic testing whenever a need for testing arises. There should be no assumptions that breast cancer arises from the mother or father until there is proof. A gene causing a greater risk for breast cancer can come from either side of the family.
Secondly, when there is a cancer diagnosis in a family, all of the next affected generation should be tested. Just because a genetic risk for cancer usually affects women’s breasts does not mean that it won’t affect the mammary glands in the men as well. Gender is not a protection from breast cancer wholly.
Third and finally, men need to know their bodies and do self exams just like women. Each of us needs to be aware of what our body feels like on a regular basis and seek surveillance when something is not right or where there is a risk.
And now you know that men can get breast cancer and that men can pass along a higher risk of breast cancer to their children.