All of the comments in italics are from the brilliant Macmillan Cancer Support website: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Home.aspx
The cancer that I have is called Invasive ductal carcinoma or (IDC). About 90% of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas.
At least 9 out of 10 male breast cancers are IDCs (alone or mixed with other types of invasive or in situ breast cancer). Because the male breast is much smaller than the female breast, all male breast cancers start relatively close to the nipple, so they are more likely to spread to the nipple
Many people don’t know that men can get breast cancer because they aren’t aware that men have breasts. But men do have a small amount of breast tissue behind their nipples. This is where breast cancer can develop.
There are 3 grades
Grade 1 (low-grade) cancers look similar to normal cells and grow the slowest.
Grade 3 (high-grade) cancers are made up of irregular cells that look very different in appearance from normal cells. They tend to grow quickly and are more likely to spread.
Grade 2 (moderate or intermediate-grade) cancers fall between Grade 1 and Grade 3 in appearance and behaviour.
I am Grade 2.
It’s most common in men over 60 years of age. Breast cancer in young men is extremely rare.
I swear I am only 50!! Honest!
When I spoke to various people at the Hospital the other week, I was told that, no one knew for sure the definite reasons as to how I got breast cancer.
Here are the causes that are known about.
Obese– Men who are overweight have a higher than average risk of getting breast cancer.
I’m a big lad, but never obese.
Alcohol– There is some evidence that heavy drinking over a sustained period of time increases the risk of a man developing breast cancer.
I have been known to have a drink. Let’s be honest, I have (did) always drink strong stuff since I was about 22. But if heavy drinking over a period of time causes breast cancer, then there would be a hell of a lot more than 300 cases a year of men getting it!
Some other medical conditions- Long-term damage to the liver such as liver cirrhosis can increase the risk of breast cancer in men. Conditions that can damage the testicles – such as having undescended testicles or having mumps as an adult – also increase the risk of breast cancer.
Again, related to alcohol abuse. Also my balls dropped years ago and I aint had mumps since…… Well, before me balls dropped.
Radiation– Being exposed to high levels of radiation may increase a man’s risk of breast cancer. Men who’ve had repeated doses of radiotherapy to their chest area at a young age may also be at increased risk.
Some Occupations- Men who work in hot environments such as blast furnaces, steel works and rolling mills may have a slightly increased risk. This is probably related to heat damage to the testicles. Some studies have also linked long-term exposure to petrol and exhaust fumes with breast cancer in men.
Now, this is something that I have thought about for years. Although it is not mentioned here, I worked in Print Rooms for 31 years, often with hardly any air conditioning (if any) and the chemicals that were used were pretty potent. Some of which have been banned.
But again if this were the case, that would mean there would be a lot more heavy drinking printers who were overweight that would contract breast cancer.
I would imagine that every man that gets breast cancer (hang on, I have had enough of typing that out in full, I will now refer to it as BC. This is 2012 and what with Twitter and texting, brevity is all the rage) is logged as to occupation, lifestyle etc and there is no definitive connection, possibly because of there being only 300 cases a year. Even Cow & Gate surveyed more than that for their advert.
And finally Cyril.
Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
In most men, breast cancer is first noticed as a painless lump under the nipple or areola.
Other signs may include:
- a nipple turning in (inversion/inverted nipple)
- changes in the size or shape of the breast
- a rash affecting the nipple
- discharge or bleeding from the nipple
- a swelling or lump in the armpit
- an ulcer on the skin of the breast.
How to check for symptoms
It’s easiest if you do it while in the shower and are still soapy.
- Place your left arm above and behind your head. With the three middle fingers of your right hand, press your breast against your chest wall.
- In a circular motion feel small portions of your left breast, going around until you have covered the entire breast and underarm. Make sure you do it slowly.
- Repeat again with your opposite arm.
Look for changes, and if you find a lump or have discharge, or you think something may be wrong, make an appointment with your GP!
To quote a wise man that I know….
Self-examination is good
Doing it with friends can be more rewarding
But if you ain’t in the mood