Not very titillating – Barbados along with rest of world tends to ignore Male Breast Cancer
According to research I did, Breast Cancer Awareness is a very recent observation, it started in 1976 and it persists for each October (Wife always gets vex, I say I will do my part by holding free manual exams, I get such a slap, oy!)… In fact – I even did a walk from Accra Beach to Boatyard in 2003 as a charity event.
So when I saw Dr Raymond Maughan was lecturing at BCC on the topic; “Breast Cancer – is it a Female or Male disease?” I thought it would be a great idea to learn some more on the topic, I was late by ten minutes and that was the extent of Dr Maughan’s coverage on the disease in this demographic! He spent longer delivering a textbook treatise on the distaff version of the disease… To be fair, the doctor is an Obstetrician-Gynecologist and the lecture should have been delivered by an oncologist and perhaps SBI Distribution could have sponsored the talk, as they are distributors for Yoplait which is known for its assistance and observation of Breast Cancer in the USA (yet Bajans LOVE their yogurt here)!
Nevertheless, I found Dr Maughan a bit insensitive – he was stating if he was diagnosed with carcinoma of his male mammaries that he would order a complete mastectomy… As I see it if a woman is diagnosed with the same disease like Ann Jillian, Jaclyn Smith or Olivia Newton John have been, it is close to a death sentence since women view their femininity through their appendages (if men are starkly honest, so do we – it’s only the better educated ones who provide the support for their partners) – this is why I decided to turn the tables and ask him if it was his testicle would he be so clinical?
I stated in the crowd that I would rather a lumpectomy rather than remove it. Dr Maughan recited the urban legend of how a woman whose mother and sister died of Breast Cancer and went to the doctor after burying them and seeking a double-mastectomy without even a biopsy? I still am of the view too many doctors can be savagely blunt having faced Life & Death for so long and need Refreshers on Sensitivity?
If the noted Photographer and Ballroom Dancer (which Dr Maughan does in his spare time) had done some proper research, he’d’ve learned there is a foundation which remembers the life of a man who died at 58 from the disease… Which tends to fall in the usual spectrum of contracting–
“Important differences between male and female breast cancer can result in male breast cancer being diagnosed at a later stage, which affects prognosis and treatment. One difference is breast size. Men have little breast tissue, which does make it easier to feel small masses. For the same reason, though, cancers do not grow far before reaching the skin covering the breast or the muscles underneath. The result is that while male breast cancers tend to be smaller than female breast cancers when they are found, they have more often spread beyond the breast.”
That was from the official site on Mayo Clinic, renowned for its sagacity on health matters is shockingly terse;-, while the
“Male breast cancer is cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Though breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a woman’s disease, male breast cancer does occur.
Male breast cancer is most common in older men, though male breast cancer can occur at any age.”
“Men diagnosed with male breast cancer at an early stage have a good chance for a cure. Still, many men delay seeing their doctors if they notice unusual signs or symptoms, such as a breast lump. For this reason, many male breast cancers are diagnosed when the disease is more advanced.”
Popular health site WEB-MD was far more comprehensive on the matter;-
“The clearest risk for developing breast cancer seems to be in men who have had an abnormal enlargement of their breasts (called gynecomastia) in response to drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons. Individuals with a rare genetic condition called Klinefelter’s syndrome, who often have gynecomastia as part of the syndrome, are especially prone to develop breast cancer. Men with severe liver disease tend to have lower levels of male hormones (androgens) and higher levels of female hormones (estrogens) putting them at an increased risk of developing gynecomastia and breast cancer. Also, diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchites, a testicular injury, or an undescended testicle increase the risk of male breast cancer.”
If the Barbados Community College wishes to organise a comprehensive approach for Breast cancer Awareness next year the I am more than willing to do my community service via marketing and/or fund-raising…