Breast cancer is a disease most prevalent in women, with an expected 230,000 cases to be diagnosed this year. However, an estimated 2,300 men will also be diagnosed with this malignancy. IT professional and breast cancer survivor Edward Smith was diagnosed at the age of 62, leaving him confused. He hadn’t thought about the possibility that he could ever get breast cancer, and he couldn’t find any support groups of men either in person or online that could provide any answers.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), a national nonprofit support organization, is now addressing this need with a new publication in their Breast Cancer in Focus series to be released under the title “Breast Cancer in Men.” The book is meant to help men deal with their diagnosis, which sometimes isn’t something they considered, and to “get over the male thing and put yourself in the best position,” as Smith explained in a press release.
According to LBBC’s CEO Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, dealing with any cancer diagnosis is not an easy task, but being “a man diagnosed with what is perceived as a ‘woman’s disease’ can be more isolating, and finding support, challenging.
“There is information available for men diagnosed with breast cancer. But it’s often clinical or even impersonal. With our guide, we’ve made sure that medical information is balanced with stories and pictures shared by men impacted by the disease. It demonstrates camaraderie and an understanding that comes from a shared experience,” Sachs said.
One additional and crucial fact that men should be aware, LBBC believes, is that men and women have the same risk in inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. The gene mutation is passed onto children and leads to an increased risk of either ovarian, breast or prostate cancers – even though they might not develop the disease themselves. “Men who have a lot of breast cancer in their family should speak to their physicians about genetic risk,” Sachs said. Men who are diagnosed with BC should reach out and ask for support, Smith added.
LBBC focuses on connecting people with breast cancer by providing them with trusted information and community of support. The LBBC organizes Breast Cancer 360s and national conferences, facilitate a toll-free Breast Cancer Helpline and has also published the “Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer.”