October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the message is always clear: a simple screening can save lives.
While many consider breast cancer to be a condition that only affects female people, it can appear in those born male, as well. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 99 percent of breast cancer diagnoses in the country are found in women. The remaining 1 percent are found in men.
"Breast cancer is typically thought of as a condition that happens in women. But everyone is born with some breast tissue. So anyone can get breast cancer," Mayo Clinic explains.
Common symptoms for males include a lump or swelling in the breast, redness or flaky skin, irritation or dimpling of skin, nipple discharge, or pain in the nipple area. It can be caused by age, genetic mutations, family history, radiation or hormone therapies, excess weight or obesity, and other preexisting conditions.
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The symptoms and causes, as well as treatment, are similar across sexes. Mammograms or MRI scans can detect cancer, and treatment may include radiation therapy or surgery. Health organizations recommend regular screenings, particularly as people age or if they are predisposed to the disease.
Juan Namnun was one such man to be diagnosed with breast cancer. He recently told CBS that he was in complete and utter shock when he received the diagnosis, as he noted that breast cancer does not run in his family. Namnun underwent a double mastectomy, missing three and half months of work. Today he is an advocate for the American Cancer Society.
“When you find a lump, it doesn’t hurt anything to check, to feel, to self-test,” he said.
Richmond University's medical center has a guide available on how men can self-test at home. They stress that any concerns should be raised to your primary care practitioner, as "self-examinations are not a substitute for seeing a physician."
While it only takes a minute, a check can be life-saving.
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