It’s not just her story, it can be his story too

Breast cancer touches not only women who are wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, female cousins and friends; it also touches males. Men have breast tissue just like women, and can develop breast cancer. In Canada, less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. Breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men over 60, but can be found in men of all ages.

I paddled with a breast cancer survivor team and one year we had a male member. He was the greatest guy. Imagine being the only man in a 22-woman dragon boat! I clearly remember the day he showed us his scar. Couldn’t see it for the map of Maui he had tattooed on his chest where his breast used to be! What a guy!

My point, here, is that breast cancer touches each and every one of us.

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36 responses to “It’s not just her story, it can be his story too

  1. An effective blog makes its point in just a few words. That’s exactly what this blog does. Yes, men DO get breast cancer, too and I won’t soon forget your imagery ‘I clearly remember the day he showed us his scar. Couldn’t see it for the map of Maui he had tattooed on his chest where his breast used to be!’

  2. Thanks for this important, and touching, and oh-so-necessary reminder. It’s important to talk about this stuff, and to include everyone that’s affected in the discussion.

    And the guy that you paddled with? I was really touched by what you shared of his story. Thanks for that too.

  3. Christine, you make a great point. Breast cancer in men is not widely discussed, and I bet it’s not a hot topic on the golf course. All of us must learn to be more open in discussing health risks, signs and symptoms without embarrassment. We may just save a life – his or hers.

  4. I gotta admit, it ain’t something I’m thinkin’ about these days… but you’re absolutely right that it affects men too. I say we eradicate it from the gene pool, ‘K?

  5. Christine,

    My dear friend, you’re totally on point. I wish more males would realize that breast cancer can happen to men. My life (as you know) has been touched by cancer and I am always in awe of people who promote breast cancer awareness, as you do 🙂

    Be well, my friend

    • Yes, I know, Raul and of course empathize completely. You don’t need to be in awe of me though. I just want people to know that a breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence. I’ve got too much more life to live to the max !

  6. You’re so right in that it touches everyone, as well as can be a tissue issue with men as well. While breast cancer isn’t as common in men, I’ve known of someone else who’s Uncle (I believe) fought breast cancer.

    I think, as a general rule, many don’t know that breast cancer can affect men as well as women & making them aware is important! And hey, men like checking out breasts, now they just need to learn to check their own. *grin*

    One day, hopefully, we’ll have that magical cure that puts cancer on the extinction list. *love*

  7. *Nods to the above comment*
    Men just don’t seem to think about getting themselves checked out. Seems most of them avoid hospitals like the plague ;(
    It needs to be discussed and remembered just in case.

  8. A lot of guys do not know that breast cancer can effect men too. There is plenty of info in medical centres.

    The problem is that it never gets widely shouted about. Hopefully more folk will talk about it and get the word out there. After all it took a lot of ads about testicular cancer to get guys checking ehem and all that.

  9. There was something on the news about this the other day. What’s so sad is that it’s so much harder to get a diagnosis, and then when the poor fellows get treatment they must have so many odd reactions to it from their friends. My aunt has just fought breast cancer off – after having had Hodgkins Lymphoma twice before it. Urgh.

  10. I was personally aware that breast cancer was an issue for men as well but I agree that most men aren’t.

    Thank you for underlining this and spreading awareness.

  11. I’ve heard a few comedians make jokes about men with relation to breast cancer as though there is something not serious about men’s breasts. This probably stems from the tradition of considering women’s breasts as sexual rather than both sexual and functional. This must make it so difficult for men to even contemplate getting breast exams. And let’s face it – those mammogram machines are just NOT designed for them. As with most things that seem strange, this attitude will pass, but in the meantime those of us who have the opportunity to comment online or in print or conversation should remember to include men when discussing this disease.

    • To all of you abovemention. TY so much for commenting. for reinforcing that breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease. And for bring Breast Cancer in general to the forefront. Of course, it would be easier not to mention it, not to bring awareness to the disease, but we all know that will not make breast cancer go away. In Light and Love to each one of you, my dear friends !

    • Thanks, Robyn. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. BTW, I don’t think those mammogram machines were designed for us women either *grimace*but I have one yearly.

  12. Dearest Christine ~

    Yes indeed breast cancer and all forms of cancer effects us all. Many people are free from realising that we already have a cure for cancer. I watch so many suffer each day and I equally have helped many with such wisdom to rid the body of cancer. A very dear friend of mine whom I share her story with her permission of course in my second book Stepping Into Spiritual Oneness in the chapter on healing that i write where she (Jenn) had an inoperable cancer brain tumor on her optic nerve and was told she would have most likely 3 months to live, 6 months to a year if she was really lucky. That was almost 4 years ago and as of 5 months after she was first “diagnosed” because of the physical and spiritual healing methods I helped her with she to the astonishment of UCLA medical centre doctors shrunk the tumor in half. As of last December, she is completely free of cancer. Such methods to be completely free of cancer are available yet big pharma does not want us to know let alone use such methods as there is “big money” in not allowing us to do so. So please, before anyone reaches for that chemo treatment, I encourage you to look into such alternative methods which are really not so alternative they are ancient methods that we knew long ago which were taken from us. I speak about quite a bit of it in my book, yet at the time of my books publication I did not want to be in “trouble” as it were for saying such. Thus I would invite you to take a look at my dearest friend Don’s work on this as he has the same wisdom as I and he has come out now as well with more extensive work than even I wrote about. Don is a good friend of mine and I love him dearly. He has several youtube videos about this and here are the links to this and to his website below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isvnHztjcVs part 1 of 8

    Don’s website is http://www.dontolmanusa.com

    I hope all here will find this as a blessing and will share with all so that we all may live happy healthy lives. Be Well.

    Namaste ~
    Patti

  13. Cancer affects all of us. My first close encounter with the disease was when I was 20 years old..my Dad, Robert Bolam, died of Lung Cancer, after a protracted illness, which I watched, helpless, in our family home, a home previously full of laughter, music and fun, for so many years..

    Within five years of that difficult time, my brother-in-law, Billy, died of Bowel Cancer, a man I’d known and loved, most of my young life, and the same man who had, a few short years earlier, broken the news to me that my Dad was dieing..

    Cancer isn’t like lightning, it knows no rule about not striking twice in the same place, much less, any rule about striking a third time..Cancer also took my sister, Betty, one of the kindest, most loving, generous and funny people I’ve ever known. Betty died of Lung Cancer, 18 years after her husband Billy..

    They were all, good, decent people, loving, fun people, who shaped my life and attitudes, and, to this day, they are all sorely missed.

    Cancer knows no rules, respects no boundaries of sex or organ, changing it’s form and shape to suit it’s own deadly purpose..no living person is immune from it’s influence.. if it doesn’t take you, it will try to take someone you love, man or woman.. it is a nasty, pernicious disease that devastates and destroys lives and families.

    What you are doing, here, Christine, is important.. until there is a universally effective routine early detection and treatment regime in place, what we must do is be vigilant for ourselves and for others, and try to make people aware, to learn to see the signs, and to catch the disease early enough to treat it successfully..

    To all that, you are making a very useful contribution..

    George Bolam

  14. Amen, George. Thank you for sharing these intimate moments of your life. They are bitter,’tis true, but we will all be the wiser for them — I trust.

  15. Cancer, the C word. How did it become such a household name now? Everywhere I turn I face it through friends and family. I watched my best friend pass away, and I think of her daily.

    But, the subject of Men’s breast cancer is a rarity. Good that it is on one hand…. maybe it’s not happening frequently. And… bad on the other hand as someone maybe quietly suffering and not even knowing what is occurring to his body.

    It’s good that you bring it out into the open, and address a quiet disease. Your post has a potential of identifying and addressing someone’s situation, and ultimately helping. Thank you…

  16. What an excellent, refreshing perspective on a disease that is typically “reserved” for women. It’s important to bring awareness to breast cancer, on any level. People need to know to look for it, the possibility to fight it, and most importantly, that with early detection and the right treatment, they can conquer it! Thanks for the post!

    • Yes, it truly is possible to live an active and full life after a breast cancer diagnosis. That goodness, because there’s so much great wine yet to taste ! That you Matt, for taking the time to comment.

  17. What a beautifully crafted post! You share such an important point – breast cancer is so often seen as just a woman’s disease.

    My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Fortunately it was caught in time and after surgery and treatment I’m happy to report that not only is her prognosis excellent, but it has fundamentally changed her outlook on life. She’s now one of the most positive people I know.

    There are a lot of tragic stories out there about breast cancer. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one to this horrific disease. But there are a lot of good news stories too. Thank you for sharing this one.

    Keep writing!

    • TY for the compliment, Suze. Wonderful news about your aunt’s prognosis and if she wants to take up the water sport of dragonboating with other survivors like herself, I would highly encourage her to do so. Yes, the tragic and the triumphant. Bring on the latter ! TY for the encouragement. I will.

  18. Cancer affects everyone. Breast cancer hasn’t been the big killer in my family but I’m aware that it strikes men as well as women. Maybe it strikes us less since we typically have smaller boobies? 🙂

    Sounds like a great guy you met there.

    • Todd, you always make me smile and that’s a good thing ! With increased obesity rates there are more males with more breast tissue, but hey I’m not a doctor. Yes, a GR8 guy who left a lasting impression on me.

  19. Thanks for the reminder that breast cancer leaves no one untouched and unaffected.

  20. This is such an important aspect of the conversation we all need to have about breast cancer. Thanks for this reminder…

  21. Christine, I’ve heard about breast cancer in men, but I must admit I never think much about it. However, a close relative recently went through an extremely trying medical experience that hits about 1% of the patients with his condition. Point is, if you are that 1%, it is terrifying and difficult and the percentages don’t mean anything.

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