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Men also affected by breast cancer
As many know, October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 40,290 women die from the disease each year. However, in some cases men have been known to contract the disease as well.
Arguably the most famous case of a man having breast cancer was Chicago Bears fullback Brian Piccolo, who suffered from embryonal cell carcinoma. The disease started in his testes and then moved to his chest. To try and combat the disease, he had surgery to remove both his liver and left pectoral muscle. Piccolo later died of the rare form of cancer on June 16, 1970, at age 26. A film about both his battle and his friendship with teammate Gale Sayers, “Brian’s Song,” was released in 1971 and featured James Caan and Billie Dee Williams as Piccolo and Sayers, respectively.
Karen Anderson has been a nurse practitioner for 20 years. She currently works at Optim Medical Center.
“The important thing is for [men] to come for their annual health exams,” Anderson said. “When I do exams, I tell people, male or female, ‘do your monthly check.’ And males should do it as well as females.”
According to the American Cancer Society, 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed each year, and 440 men will die from it yearly. Also, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
Due to the perception that rare form of cancer is a female focused one, men might be likely to be more hesitant to admit to having the disease.
“I think that would be the general consensus that they would be more embarrassed about having it,” Anderson said. “But as guys age, they gain more breast tissue and they don’t think about it. But they ought to check themselves for it.”