Dr. Rachel: Breast Cancer doesn’t only affect women

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The fight against Breast Cancer has helped save the lives of countless women, but the disease can also strike men. Dr. Rachel doesn't want anyone to get caught off guard.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so everything is pink. This brings awareness to a devastating cancer, which is great but Dr. Rachel tells us that she wants to bring the awareness to men, "Not for your mom, wife, sister, best friend but for you. Yes, you men. Men too can get breast cancer. In fact, the 1st person I knew who was diagnosed with and died from breast cancer was a man."

Here are the statistics:

  • The lifetime risk of a man getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. For a woman, it is 1 in 8.
  • There will be about 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in men this year.
  • The signs and symptoms are the same in men and women
  • Men usually delay going to their doctor when noticing a lump

Dr. Rachel says that it's not clear what causes male breast cancer, but there are risk factors. "Just like in women, men with a family history of the breast cancer mutation gene (BRCA 1 and 2) have an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer. The normal BRCA genes help keep cells from growing abnormally and turning into cancer cells. If you have a mutation in one or both of the genes, then they are not as effective in protecting your cells from turning into cancer, so you have a higher risk of getting cancer."

Dr. Rachel thinks that maybe our pink ribbons should have a little streak of blue in them. What do you think?
If you have any medical questions, message Dr. Rachel on her facebook page, or send her a tweet @DrRachelTwist.