Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:28 am

Male Breast Cancer (not just a lady's disease)

The information that I am sharing is in no way intended to take anything away from the concern we all should have about breast cancer in women. Nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US every year, and, of these, the mortality rate will reach somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000!!! We all, men and women, need to continue to show our love and support, share our prayers and show encouragement to every single lady in our lives. We need to encourage ALL women to be educated and to go through all the checkups and tests that are available. Love your wife, your mother, sisters, daughters, friends and relatives enough to be ‘on the team’!!!

BUT, MEN ….. WE NEED TO WAKE UP! Although many more women will be diagnosed, it is important to know that over 2,000 men will be diagnosed with Male Breast Cancer this year! The mortality rate is similar to that in women, however it can be much less! Our major problem as men is pride. We brush this under the table, choosing to NEVER talk about this because breast cancer is ‘A LADY’S DISEASE’. Our own vanity is killing us. Most times men are not diagnosed until they are in stage 3 or 4 cancer because we ignore the symptoms. Because any cancer in theses stages can metastasize and spread through your lymph nodes to other parts of your body, you will stand less of a chance for a recovery. Early detection in men offers an EXCELLENT chance for a full recovery.

I am certainly no expert, only recently jumping onto this soapbox, but my internet research has uncovered a few things to share. Men who develop an enlargement in their breast tissue have a higher rate of developing cancer. We all make jokes about ‘man boobs’, but Gynecomastia can be caused by hormonal imbalances, obesity, habitual marijuana use, liver disease or as a side effect to some medications. My research turns up conflicting reports about whether or not Gynecomastia increases the risk of developing breast cancer, but WHY TAKE that chance? If you have this condition, get yourself checked out … frequently. Another condition that cause enlargement in men is called Klinefelter Syndrome. This is a rare genetic problem in which a man has an extra X chromosome and DOES indicate an increased risk. Other risk factors include cirrhosis of the liver (alcoholism), having a family history of an alteration of the BRCA2 gene and prolonged exposure to radiation. This is but a small sampling of possible causes … I urge you to educate yourselves as to other possible causes.

Finally, do not allow ‘embarrassment’ to kill you! Peter Criss, the original drummer in one of my favorite rocks bands, KISS, is a male breast cancer survivor, and he is ‘out there’ and trying to educate the public! What saved Peter Criss? EARLY DETECTION! He noticed something and got it checked out, he did not wait, he was not embarrassed … and he IS alive and well. Richard Roundtree (the original ‘Shaft!’) is another celeb who was saved by early detection. And before anyone jumps to conclusions … no, I do not have breast cancer, but someone who I love does. Thanking God every minute that my loved one is a stubborn man! He noticed a lump and got it checked out. His doctor told him that he was too young (66?!?! TOO YOUNG?) to be overly concerned about this, but he insisted on having the lump removed and tested. The results came back as stage 1 cancer. Again thanking God, his prognosis for a full recovery is excellent … but ONLY because of early detection!

Please … ladies love your husbands enough, and all of us love our fathers, brothers, sons, friends and relatives enough to share this with them. Breast cancer is NOT just a ‘lady’s disease’! Encourage them … love them … support them …..

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com