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Five Breast Cancer Myths You Should be Aware Of

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual occasion to increase awareness of the disease. If you perform a quick search on the disease, you will find tremendous information on contributing factors to the risk of breast cancer, including some types of food, drinks, cleaning materials and even devices. This information leads to confusion on what to believe as fact and what to ignore as a myth.

Marking this important awareness-raising month, we present to you this information on five of the most circulated myths about the disease.

Myth No 1: Drinking milk (or dairy) causes breast cancer

some early studies raised concerns about the correlation between drinking milk from cows treated with hormones and the risk of cancer. The truth is that over many decades, studies failed to find a clear link and have shown that dairy consumption does not increase the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Moreover, the International Journal of Epidemiology published in 2002 the results of 20 studies on the relationship between dairy and increased risk of cancer. All the studies showed that there is no significant association between intakes of total dairy fluids or solids and breast cancer.

Myth No 2: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer

The truth is that there is no conclusive evidence on links between the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Some people have concerns that deodorants and antiperspirants block the body from sweating toxin which might build up in the lymph glands under the armpit causing breast cancer. But the human body has several other ways of disposing of toxins that do not involve the lymph glands. Furthermore, the “Breast Cancer Care” initiative explained there is also no evidence ingredients used in deodorants and antiperspirants like aluminum or parabens cause breast cancer.

Myth No 3: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer

The truth is that only a small percentage of breast lumps are cancer. However, it is very important to see a physician for a clinical breast exam if you notice a persistent lump in the breast or any changes in breast tissue. A physician is the only one who can determine whether this lump or change is of concern or not. Furthermore, it is essential to keep the habit of performing routine breast self-exams and getting an annual clinical breast exam, including scheduling routine mammograms.

Myth No 4: Men do not get breast cancer, it is a women’s only disease

While the percentage of breast cancer occurrence is small among men, they are also affected by the disease. In fact, breast cancer leads to higher mortality among men compared to women as a result of the lack of awareness that they can also be affected by the disease, which leads to delay in seeking treatment.

Men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam in the shower to discover any hard lump underneath the nipple and areola so that they can report these changes to their physicians.

Myth No 5: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread 

The truth is that any breast compression while getting a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. Also, the benefits of mammograms outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure as they require very small doses of radiation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The standard recommendation is an annual mammographic screening for women and men, in addition to any other recommendation by the physician.

Myth No 6: Breast cancer is contagious

Breast cancer cannot transfer to someone else’s body. The disease results of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast. Everyone can reduce their risk of being affected by the disease by practicing a healthy lifestyle and being aware of the risk factors and following an early detection routine.

There are some things that can help us avoid breast cancer like keeping a healthy weight, paying attention to your alcohol consumption, stop smoking and keeping active. While there are some factors that we cannot control like aging and exposure to high levels of radiation can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Read More: About Breast Cancer

Article Source: Egypt Today

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New myeloma clinical trial launches with aim to transform treatment from one-size-fits-all approach

People with newly diagnosed high risk myeloma will be treated based on the results of genetic testing as part of a new UK-first clinical trial.

The evidence from the trial, launched today by Myeloma UK, will help doctors move from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating myeloma to one that is more targeted to specific patient groups.

The MUK nine trials is one of the first trials of its kind in the world and experts predict it could transform myeloma treatment on the NHS and in healthcare systems around the world.

The trial will deliver on the aspirations set out in the recent Life Sciences: industrial strategy which calls for the UK to lead innovation in clinical trial methodology, and to embed routine genomic analysis to make trials more targeted and effective.

High risk myeloma patients make up around 20% of all people with myeloma and generally have a worse prognosis than other patients. More evidence is required to ensure that high risk myeloma patients get access to the best possible treatments.

MUK nine has been designed to address this evidence gap, and to incorporate genetic tests as a way of identifying this group of patients, a process which is also known as stratified medicine.

Access to state of the art diagnostics

Hosted by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, patients taking part in the trial will have access to state of the art diagnostics and remission profiling which has been investigated and developed, in part, through Myeloma UK-funded research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Up to 700 newly-diagnosed patients will be recruited and screened by genetic analysis of their bone marrow samples. This analysis is conducted by Myeloma UK-funded researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). Those patients who are identified by the genetic analysis as being of high risk will be then offered a chance to take part in MUK nine.

MUK nine is a Phase II trial to assess the effectiveness of a new treatment combination in conjunction with an autologous stem cell transplant: bortezomib (Velcade®), lenalidomide (Revlimid®), daratumumab (Darzalex®) and dexamethasone in combination with low dose cyclophosphamide will be used to treat these newly diagnosed, high risk myeloma patients.

Daratumumab is currently only available in a restricted setting on the NHS, to patients in Scotland. So the results of this trial could quickly affect access to the treatment.

The trial also aims to increase understanding of the genetic basis of myeloma in general, and to find disease markers which could be helpful when looking towards stratified medicine that benefits all myeloma patients.

Transforming myeloma treatment

Chief Investigator for the MUK nine trials and Senior Researcher at the ICR, Dr Martin Kaiser said:

“It’s vitally important that people with myeloma get the most effective treatment for them, particularly people with the highest risk forms of the disease. But we urgently need the evidence to show which therapeutic approaches are right for different groups of patients.

The MUK nine trials will give patients access to innovative new treatments and state-of-the-art molecular testing. We hope it will transform myeloma treatment from a one-size-fits-all approach to a stratified one driven by disease characteristics.

Speeding up access to promising new treatments

MUK nine will initially open in 35 Clinical Trial Network (CTN) centre across the UK. It is part of the Myeloma UK CTN, a portfolio of early stage trials co-ordinate and sponsored by the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, which aims to test and speed up access to promising new treatments for patients.

Myeloma UK Director of Research Dr Simon Ridley added:

Around 20% of myeloma patients are characterized as having high risk myeloma, yet there is relatively little research looking at high risk disease and treatment. This trial is looking to the future – we are trying to gain more insight into which treatment combinations might work best in different groups of high risk patients.

“It also offers patient access to novel combination treatments that they cannot currently get access to through routine commissioning. The data this trial will generate can be used in the UK and beyond to support patient access to the most innovative and effective combination treatments.”

Myeloma UK is funding MUK nine with both funding support and drugs provided by Celgene UK & Ireland (lenalidomide) and Janssen Oncology (daratumumab).

Daratumumab is a novel monoclonal antibody that is not currently available for use on the NHS. Skyline Dx’s prognostic tool, MMprofiler, will be used in combination with other genetic prognostic tools to risk-stratify patients on this trial.

Also Read: ICR’s research into liquid biopsy tests

Official article Source: Institute of Cancer Research ICR London

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Test For Breast Cancer Risk Could Reduce Pre-Emptive Mastectomies

A genetic test that accurately predicts the risk of developing breast cancer could soon be used on high-risk groups.

Researchers behind the test say it could reduce the number of women choosing pre-emptive mastectomy surgery as they will be able to make more informed decisions about their care.

The blood test looks at 18 genetic variations, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), known to affect the chances of getting breast cancer.
It will initially only be available at St Mary’s hospital and Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester to women having tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

breast cancer, cancer research news, Breast cancer test, charity UK

A consultant analyses a mammogram: the research suggested the number of women choosing to have a mastectomy could be reduced from 50% to 36%. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

A study carried out by researchers at the hospitals and the University of Manchester analysed the DNA of 451 women with a family history of breast cancer who had developed the disease, using the information alongside other factors to predict an overall risk estimate.

Many of the women who were originally in the high-risk category were reclassified to a lower risk category, where risk-reducing breast removal surgery is not recommended.

The study suggested the number of women with BRCA1 and 2 mutations who choose to have a mastectomy could be reduced from 50% to about 36%.

Becky Measures, who had a mastectomy at Wythenshawe hospital 11 years ago after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, said: When they find that they have the BRCA1/2 gene, many women fear that they have to take action immediately. The new test will give women more options and help them to make a more informed decision.
Probably the most famous person to have undergone the surgery is actor Angelina Jolie, who made the decision after learning she had an up to 87% chance of developing breast cancer, a disease her mother had died of.

Following the revelation, referrals for the gene mutation tests more than doubled in the UK, which doctors described as the Angelina effect.

While all women with a BRCA gene mutation are given this same risk figure of 87%, it is actually much more complex and different for every person.

A breast cancer charity described the more tailored approach as an exciting development.

Lester Barr, the chairman of Prevent Breast Cancer, which partly funded the research, said: With more accurate genetic testing, we can better predict a woman’s risk of developing the disease and therefore offer the appropriate advice and support, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Read more about: Breast Cancer Latest Research

Source: The Guardian

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Key Terms You Should know

Mammogram. “Triple-negative.” “Tumor stage.”

Patients may hear some or all of these words while speaking to their doctors about breast cancer. Understanding these terms and how they can affect you may be key to getting the help you need.
Below are their definitions, as well some other common breast cancer-related terms and what they mean.

Benign: When something is not cancer.

BRCA-1 and BRCA-2: These two types of breast cancer susceptibility genes usually help protect you from getting cancer,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain. “But when you have changes or mutations on one or both of your BRCA genes, cells are more likely to divide and change rapidly, which can lead to cancer.

Carcinoma: The term signifies “cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs,” according to the charity Cancer Research UK.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): It’s “essentially a cell that looks like a breast cancer but it’s confined in the ducts” of the breast, Dr. Laura Spring with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Fox News. It’s not yet able to spread distantly in the body, she explained.
Dr. Adam Brufsky, a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine professor, stressed the importance of finding DCIS, saying that it could become invasive cancer if it’s left untreated.

HER2/neu: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu) is a type of “protein involved in cell growth and survival and appears on the surface of some breast cancer cells, the Susan G. Komen website explains. Testing may be done to determine a patient’s HER2 status, which can indicate if there’s a high amount of HER2/neu in the cancer.
Patients may also be tested to find out their hormone receptor status, which indicates “whether or not a breast cancer needs hormones to grow,” Susan G. Komen says. HER2 status and hormone receptor status can affect the type of care someone gets.

Invasive ductal carcinoma: A type of breast cancer that begins in cells lining a duct before it “breaks through the wall of the duct, and grows into the nearby breast tissues,” the American Cancer Society (ACS) says.

Invasive lobular cancer: This breast cancer type begins in glands called lobules, according to the ACS.
Lumpectomy: When a lump and some tissue is removed from a breast.

Malignant: When something is cancer.

Mammogram: This is a low-dose x-ray that allows radiologists to look for changes in the breast, said Dr. Elizabeth Arleo, a radiologist with New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. She explained that it can find breast cancer early when it’s small even before a lump can be felt and it’s easiest to treat.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) says online that it “recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74 years.
Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin biennial screening between the ages of 40 and 49 years, the task force says.
Arleo and others worked on a study published in August that used computer modeling to estimate the possible effects from three different screening recommendations on female breast cancer deaths, a news release said.

The team found that the recommendation of annual screening starting at age 40 would result in the greatest reduction in breast cancer–specific deaths: a nearly 40 percent reduction in deaths due to breast cancer, it said. Annual screening starting at 40 saves the most lives, Arleo told Fox News.

Mastectomy: This refers to surgery to remove a breast or part of a breast, MedLine Plus says.

Metastasis: This describes cancer extending to other areas of the body, the CDC says.

Occult cancer: This is when cancer is “hidden” and accidentally found, Brufsky explained.

Systemic therapy: This is when treatments such as hormone therapy and chemotherapy affect the entire body, according to Brufsky.

Triple-negative: This describes when tumor cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also don’t have too much of the protein called HER2, the ACS says.

Tumor grade: It’s a measure of how quickly the tumor cells are dividing and how different they look compared to a normal cell, according to Spring.

Source: MSN News

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BREAST CANCER : Symptoms, risk factors, and treatment

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women, and the second main cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

Advances in screening and treatment have improved survival rates dramatically since 1989. There are around 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States (U.S.). The chance of any woman dying from breast cancer is around 1 in 37, or 2.7 percent.

In 2017, around 252, 710 new diagnoses of breast cancer are expected in women, and around 40,610 women are likely to die from the disease.

Awareness of the symptoms and the need for screening are important ways of reducing the risk.

Breast cancer can affect men too, but this article will focus on breast cancer in women.

 

Fast facts on breast cancer:

Here are some key points about breast cancer. More detail is in the main article.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Symptoms include a lump or thickening of the breast, and changes to the skin or the nipple. Risk factors can be genetic, but some lifestyle factors, such as alcohol intake, make it more likely to happen. A range of treatments is available, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Many breast lumps are not cancerous, but any woman who is concerned about a lump or change should see a doctor.

What is breast cancer?

After puberty, a woman’s breast consists of fat, connective tissue, and thousands of lobules, tiny glands that produce milk for breast-feeding. Tiny tubes, or ducts, carry the milk toward the nipple.

In cancer, the body’s cells multiply uncontrollably. It is the excessive cell growth that causes cancer.

 

Breast cancer can be:

Ductal carcinoma: This begins in the milk duct and is the most common type.

Lobular carcinoma: This starts in the lobules. Invasive breast cancer is when the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue, increasing the chance of spreading to other parts of the body.

Non-invasive breast cancer is when the cancer is still inside its place of origin and has not broken out. However, these cells can eventually develop into invasive breast cancer.

Symptoms

The first symptoms of breast cancer are usually an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or a lump in the breast or in an armpit.

Other symptoms include:

  • a pain in the armpits or breast that does not change with the monthly cycle
  • pitting or redness of the skin of the breast, like the skin of an orange
  • a rash around or on one of the nipples a discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood
  • a sunken or inverted nipple
  • a change in the size or shape of the breast peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple

Most lumps are not cancerous, but women should have them checked by a health care professional.

10 risk factors

Breast cancer usually starts in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. From there, it can spread to other parts of the body.

The exact cause remains unclear, but some risk factors make it more likely. Some of these are preventable.

  1. Age

The risk increases with age. At 20 years, the chance of developing breast cancer in the next decade is 0.6 percent. By the age of 70 years, this figure goes up to 3.84 percent.

  1. Genetics

If a close relative has or has had, breast cancer, the risk is higher.

Women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer or both. These genes can be inherited. TP53 is another gene that is linked to a greater breast cancer risk.

  1. A history of breast cancer or breast lumps

Women who have had breast cancer before are more likely to have it again, compared with those who have no history of the disease.

Having some types of benign, or non-cancerous breast lumps increases the chance of developing cancer later on. Examples include atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.

  1. Dense breast tissue

Breast cancer is more likely to develop in higher density breast tissue.

  1. Estrogen exposure and breast-feeding

Being exposed to estrogen for a longer period appears to increase the risk of breast cancer.

This could be due to starting periods earlier or entering menopause later than average. Between these times, estrogen levels are higher.

Breast-feeding, especially for over 1 year, appears to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, possibly because pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces exposure to estrogen.

  1. Body weight

Women who are overweight or have obesity after menopause may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, possibly due to higher levels of estrogen. High sugar intake may also be a factor.

  1. Alcohol consumption

A higher rate of regular alcohol consumption appears to play a role. Studies have shown that women who consume more than 3 drinks a day have a 1.5 times higher risk.

  1. Radiation exposure

Undergoing radiation treatment for a cancer that is not breast cancer increases the risk of breast cancer later in life.

  1. Hormone treatments

The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral birth control pills have been linked to breast cancer, due to increased levels of estrogen.

  1. Occupational hazards

In 2012, researchers concluded that exposure to certain carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, for example in the workplace, could be linked to breast cancer.

In 2007, scientists suggested that working night shifts could increase the risk of breast cancer, but more recent research concludes this is unlikely.

 

Cosmetic implants and breast cancer survival

Women with cosmetic breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of dying from the disease and a 25 percent higher chance of being diagnosed at a later stage, compared with women without implants.

This could be due to due to the implants masking cancer during screening, or because the implants bring about changes in breast tissue. More research is needed.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis often occurs as the result of routine screening, or when a woman approaches her doctor after detecting symptoms.

Some diagnostic tests and procedures help to confirm a diagnosis.

Breast exam

The physician will check the patient’s breasts for lumps and other symptoms.

The patient will be asked to sit or stand with her arms in different positions, such as above her head and by her sides.

Imaging tests

A mammogram is a type of x-ray commonly used for initial breast cancer screening. It produces images that can help detect any lumps or abnormalities.

A suspicious result can be followed up by further diagnosis. However, mammography sometimes shows up a suspicious area that is not cancer. This can lead to unnecessary stress and sometimes interventions.

An ultrasound scan can help differentiate between a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.

An MRI scan involves injecting a dye into the patient, so find out how far the cancer has spread.

 

Biopsy

A sample of tissue is surgically removed for laboratory analysis. This can show whether the cells are cancerous, and, if so, which type of cancer it is, including whether or not the cancer is hormone-sensitive.

Diagnosis also involves staging the cancer, to establish:

  • the size of a tumor
  • how far it has spread
  • whether it is invasive or non-invasive
  • whether it has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body

Staging will affect the chances of recovery and will help decide on the best treatment options.

 

Treatment

Treatment will depend on:

  • Chemotherapy can be an option for breast cancer.
  • Chemotherapy can be an option for breast cancer.
  • the type of breast cancer
  • the stage of the cancer
  • sensitivity to hormones
  • the patient’s age, overall health, and preferences

The main options include:

  • radiation therapy
  • surgery
  • biological therapy, or targeted drug therapy
  • hormone therapy
  • chemotherapy

Factors affecting the choice will include the stage of the cancer, other medical conditions, and individual preference.

 

Surgery

If surgery is needed, the choice will depend on the diagnosis and the individual.

Lumpectomy: Removing the tumor and a small margin of healthy tissue around it can help prevent the spread of the cancer. This may be an option if the tumor is small and likely to be easy to separate from the surrounding tissue.

Mastectomy: Simple mastectomy involves removing the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue, nipple, areola, and some skin. Radical mastectomy removes muscle from the chest wall and the lymph nodes in the armpit as well.

Sentinel node biopsy: Removing one lymph node can stop the cancer spreading, because if breast cancer reaches a lymph node, it can spread further through the lymphatic system into other parts of the body.

Axillary lymph node dissection: If there are cancer cells on a node called the sentinel node, the surgeon may recommend removing several nymph nodes in the armpit to prevent the spread of disease.

Reconstruction: Following breast surgery, reconstruction can recreate the breast so that it looks similar to the other breast. This can be done at the same time as a mastectomy, or at a later date. The surgeon may use a breast implant, or tissue from another part of the patient’s body.

 

Radiation therapy

Controlled doses of radiation are targeted at the tumor to destroy the cancer cells. Used from around a month after surgery, along with chemotherapy, it can kill any remaining cancer cells.

Each session lasts a few minutes, and the patient may need three to five sessions per week for 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the aim and the extent of the cancer.

The type of breast cancer will dictate what type of radiation therapy, if any, is most suitable.

Adverse effects include fatigue, lymphedema, darkening of the breast skin, and irritation of the breast skin.

 

Chemotherapy

Medications known as cytotoxic drugs may be used to kill cancer cells, if there is a high risk of recurrence or spread. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.

If the tumor is large, chemotherapy may be administered before surgery to shrink the tumor and make its removal easier. This is called neo-adjuvant chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy can also treat cancer that has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body, and it can reduce some symptoms, especially in the later stages.

It may be used to reduce estrogen production, as estrogen can encourage the growth of some breast cancers.

Adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, sore mouth, hair loss, and a slightly higher susceptibility to infections. Medications can help control many of these.

 

Hormone blocking therapy

Hormone blocking therapy is used to prevent recurrence in hormone-sensitive breast cancers. These are often referred to as estrogen receptive (ER) positive and progesterone receptor (PR) positive cancers.

Hormone blocking therapy is normally used after surgery, but it may sometimes be used beforehand to shrink the tumor.

It may be the only option for patients who cannot undergo surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.

The effects normally last for up to 5 years after surgery. The treatment will have no effect on cancers that are not sensitive to hormones.

Examples include:

  • tamoxifen
  • aromatase inhibitors
  • ovarian ablation or suppression
  • a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist (LHRHa) drug called Goserelin, to suppress the ovaries
  • Hormone treatment may affect a woman’s future fertility.

Biological treatment

Targeted drugs destroy specific types of breast cancer. Examples include trastuzumab (Herceptin), lapatinib (Tykerb), and bevacizumab (Avastin). These drugs are all used for different purposes.

Treatments for breast and other cancers can have severe adverse effects.

The patient should discuss with a doctor the risks involved and ways to minimize the negative effects, when deciding on treatment.

Prevention and outlook

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but some lifestyle decisions can significantly reduce the risk of breast and other types of cancer.

These include:

  • avoiding excess alcohol consumption
  • following a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • getting enough exercise
  • maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI)
  • Women should think carefully about their options for breast-feeding and the use of HRT following menopause, as these can affect the risk.
  • Preventive surgery is an option for women at high risk.

Outlook

With treatment, a woman who receives a diagnosis of stage 0 or stage 1 breast cancer has an almost almost 100 percent chance of surviving for at least 5 years.

If the diagnosis is made at stage 4, the chance of surviving another 5 years is around 22 percent.

Regular checks and screening can help detect symptoms early. Women should discuss their options with a doctor.

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MALE SURVIVORS: Remind us that men get breast cancer, too

Newsflash – men have breast tissue, which means they can get breast cancer just like women. Yet guys grappling with the disease get lost in Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s pink tidal wave.

Even the National Football League – the epitome of all things macho – sees players sporting pink cleats and gloves this month.

“October should not be 100% pink. I’m trying to put a splash of blue in there,” says Michael Singer, a six-year breast cancer survivor advocating for Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week running Oct. 16-22.

Michael Singer, 56, from the Bronx, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.

Michael Singer, 56, from the Bronx, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.

(CATHERINE FONSECA/FONSECA FOTOGRAPHY)

“That’s one thing I’m a little upset with the NFL about – they’re forgetting to mention my guys,” adds Singer, 56, from the Bronx. “It’s all pinkwashed, and it gets a little frustrating.”

Fellow survivor Stephen Cone, 66, who’s battled breast cancer twice, feels just as overlooked. “It’s like we’re totally invisible,” says the Washington, D.C. resident. “Men [with breast cancer] are never mentioned by the NFL. We’re not mentioned by Susan Komen. We’re definitely not on the radar.”

While breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than women, some 2,600 men will still be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. And 440 will die.

Worse, breast cancer is often found later in men because they haven’t been trained to detect it the way women have been. When’s the last time you heard of a man booking a mammogram or doing a self breast exam?

“There is this myth that men can’t get it, so that leads to lumps and masses being ignored, and treatment and diagnosis is delayed,” warns Dr. Paula Klein, an oncologist from Mount Sinai Beth Israel. And the longer you wait, the more time you give the cancer to spread. Hence, men with breast cancer have a significantly lower survival rate than women.

And there’s not a lot of clinical data on breast cancer in men, because it is so under-studied in favor of women. Which means many men suffer from the stigma attached to having a disease that predominantly impacts women.

The Male Breast Cancer Coalition reminds people men have breasts, too, with pink and blue merchandise.

The Male Breast Cancer Coalition reminds people men have breasts, too, with pink and blue merchandise.

(COURTESY OF MICHAEL SINGER)

Cone couldn’t find any meet-ups for men with breast cancer. “There was nothing for me unless I joined a women’s support group,” he says.

That turns a lot of men off. “I would walk in a waiting room where women who had breast cancer could talk freely … but how do you inject yourself into that conversation when you’re just a guy?” asks Singer.

And when Singer was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer in 2010, he was so embarrassed, he told people he had “chest cancer” because “I couldn’t bring myself to say ‘breast cancer.’”

“What was wrong with me that I had this women’s disease? I couldn’t find any other men who had it,” he says.

His outsider outlook changed when he saw male breast cancer survivors featured on Katie Couric’s former talk show not long after his surgery. He was inspired to see guys like himself speaking out, so now he advocates for the American Cancer Society and the Male Breast Cancer Alliance.

Survivor Michael Singer has worked with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise male breast cancer awareness.

Survivor Michael Singer has worked with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to raise male breast cancer awareness.

(COURTESY OF MICHAEL SINGER)

“Men, if you do get diagnosed with this, you are not alone,” says Singer, who hands out pink and blue ribbons, and sports pink and blue t-shirts to remind the public that men get breast cancer, too. “You have that loneliess, and all of the fear and emotions running through you, but there are other men out there you can reach out and talk to.”

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