Every month it seems is an “awareness” month and October is one of the biggest with “Pinktober” where everything feels like it turns pink! Since most of us are already aware of women and breast cancer, we want to expand your awareness so you know there is more than women and pink. There are men too!
Yes, it’s true that 1 in 8 women (about 12%) will most likely be diagnosed with breast cancer but do you know that men can be diagnosed as well? This year it is projected that over 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed and over 400 men will die from the disease. Although a large percentage of breast cancers are not genetic, many are due to a genetic or hereditary background. Approximately 5-10% of breast cancer can be caused from a variety of gene mutations including the BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility gene). 50% of BRCA carriers are male! In general there is a 1% chance of a man being diagnosed with breast cancer (1 in 1000) however this percentage increases up to 7% if a man is a carrier of the gene mutation.
There are many factors that increase the risk for men regarding breast cancer.
First, do men (or women) acknowledge that men have breast? Aren’t they just pecs?!
Is there a family history of breast and other cancers as most don’t equate this with a male breast cancer risk. Learning about your hereditary health can save your life. If you have a family member with early age diagnosis of Prostate, Melanoma, Pancreatic, Breast and other cancers, then you may be at a higher risk. Even if you are a carrier of the BRCA or other gene mutation this does not mean you will get breast cancer, it just means you are at a higher risk and need to take the necessary precautions and be educated. Perform a self breast exam more often or having frequent mammograms (yes men can have a mammogram and should do self exams!) are important tools for early detection. Unfortunately since no is checking, men are often diagnosed far too late.
In addition to knowing your risk factors, changes in your diet, supplementation, exercise programs and meditation may also help. Choosing more organic foods with little to no hormones added has been found to be helpful as breast cancer is often hormonally driven in men. A diet filled with organic cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale along with berries can also be beneficial. Since we can’t always eat our nourishment, taking additional supplements or choosing green powders for drinks can help get the proper daily intake as well as supplements such as Vitamin D, Turmeric, Green Tea and natural products that works as an anti-inflamatory or antioxidants.
So this month while everything is turning pink, think about turning your lifestyle a little green. Now that you’re aware, become educated with your genetic background, know your risk and make healthier choices. And remember this month it’s not just about the women, it’s about the men too!
For more information on Male Breast Cancer, to purchase awareness products or to donate, visit HIS Breast Cancer Awareness (a fully accredited 501c3 nonprofit organization); http://hisbreastcancer.org/