We’re almost at the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but there’s an important aspect of the disease I’d like to discuss that many of us forget about: breast cancer in men. Granted, it’s about 100 times less common among men than women, but it does strike more than 2,000 men in the United States alone each year. I had never heard of it until a dear friend’s husband was diagnosed at the age of 30.
Judah was a fighter. From the very first day he learned of his illness, he was determined to fight it with his all. And he did. Throughout the many years he battled the invasive cancer, he stayed optimistic, fully aware, and lived life as fully as he possibly could. Among many other memorable experiences, he and his wife conceived a beautiful daughter.
My friend stayed optimistic as well. Even toward the end of her husband’s life, she would send inspiring messages to those of us waiting to find out how we could help and support them. I was astonished at how someone dealing with such tragedy and turmoil could be so selfless. She was my hero.
Sadly, after 13 years Judah’s battle ended, but his memory lives on. To find out more about Judah Gubbay and how to support the fight against male breast cancer, please visit the Blue Wave.
What You Should Know
- The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, about 2,190 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed, and that it will be the cause of approximately 410 deaths. This rate grows annually.
- Survival rates for men are about the same as for women at the same stage of cancer when diagnosed. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed until later stages due to lack of awareness.
- 27% of men with breast cancer will die from the disease, compared with 19% of women, related to the lack of awareness and later detection.
- If you are a guy, give yourself a breast exam or ask your doctor to perform one the next time you have an appointment. It takes just a few minutes, but it could save your life.
- For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.