Not for Women Only

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    I hope I got your attention with this Topic Title and it is not chosen in jest.

    Purim time I left a lump in my left breast. I thought it was a swollen gland from a virus I had the previous week. It did not go away an was painful. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor for an exam. He concurred and scheduled a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.
    I felt totally out of place, as these are done at a ‘woman’s imaging center,’ while in the waiting room I could hear women talking about me, wondering if my wife or mother was the patient I was waiting for.
    Every piece of literature about Breast Cancer was only about females.
    Following these exams and biopsies, it wa confirmed that I was one of those extremely few men who discover a lump and have breast cancer.

    I met with a surgeon and a mastectomy was performed. B”H the cancer had not spread beyond the margins of the tumor or the lymph nodes.
    There will be some ongoing treatment.

    Why am I posting this personal information here? I am not seeking your ‘refuah shelemah’ although they are accepted and appreciated.
    I am posting because of something specific the surgeon told me. Sheis head of the Brest surgery department at the Cancer center.
    I am the first(and only) man in her career who has coe in after discovering a lump and is only Stage 1 cancer. Generally the few male patients are in stage 4 or 5, the cancer has metastasized and was discovered by a wife.
    Men do not perform self-examination. Doctors don’t check men for this during annual physicals.
    There is no support system in place for men facing this disease. Why? I asked the director of a Breast Cancer support foundation I have financially supported in the past. The answer: men are too embarrassed to speak about breast cancer, they think it’s only a woman’s issue.
    B”H I feel fine a few weeks after surgery, I returned to work in 5 days, and have a positive outlook for my future.
    So, self examination should be part of all adults’ regimen, especially if there is a history in your family (none in mne).


    Ctl, baruch Hashem you caught it so early.

    It is worth mentioning that ashkenazi men with the BRCA gene are more likely than the general population to develop male breast cancer. Many doctors recommended men get tested for this gene and subsequently undergo examinations for the disease.

    Little Froggie



    Thanks for sharing CTlawyer and happy to hear all this is a thing of a past.

    ☕️coffee addict

    How do men test?


    The surgery is behind me, treatment is ahead. I will not know for another week if it will just be pulls or pills and chemotherapy. Awaiting results of lab work.

    The important thing is B”H I caught it before it spread and was persisent in fast diagnosis, testing and surgery


    May Hashem send you a speedy recovery and may Hashem always keep you healthy


    @Ct lawyer B”H you won’t need pills nor chemotherapy. Amen ve amen!


    This should be in Mailbag, on the main page


    You misread my comment, I said I don’t know if I witjust need pills or pills and chemotherapy. Find out in another week.
    But genetic testing came back negative today. No propensity for pancreatic or prostate cancer


    @ct lawyer, I told you B”H you won’t need any of those. Keep us posted.


    Men do get breast cancer. Refuah Shelaimah.


    Thank you for posting. I’m glad you were able to get this taken care of early.

    Wishing you continued health.

    The Wolf


    Refua Shleima CTLAWYER, it should quickly and completely disappear.
    It is not that rare. I believe it is not completely true that literature is only about women, and you can certainly provide advice on how to make the male audience more receptive. I recall in the 80s (that is a long time ago and it was in europe) I gave out flyers and handouts, occasionally a man would decline and I would say the information is for the women in your life and also for you and your male friends, because men too can have breast tumours and breast malignant cancers.
    I am sorry to hear that still some people are ignorant, and inside a breast cancer unit, no less; but one can not blame flyers for that. I would also like to remark that the very fact you felt a lump means that you read one such handout and followed its advice, or that a doctor recommended you regularly self-check. Flyers, or some of them at least, try to include at least one drawing that doesn’t look obviously like a female.

    In the early 2000s the male presenter of “The Price is Right” was diagnosed with breast cancer, which ultimately took his life, and he has been a big campaigner and financial supporter of breast cancer awareness among males in the US. I was under the impression that he had been able to make a huge difference, unfortunately there’s always more worl to do.

    I think the foundation director is correct about males being more embarrassed in visiting the doctor, but that is the case also with male-only lumps and symptoms. Perhaps we all should talk more about health with our children, both males and females.

    I also believe it is very true that breast units are not really organized for male patients. However, what is important is that they care for you and solve your health problems. Write down notes on what could and should be improved, and you can later share these. Same thing with flyers, I am sorry you were faced with inadequate literature – which, unfortunately, exists – take note of changes you’d like to see and email / call before next reprint. Sometimes people mean to do well, and they simply do not know how to do. As for the ignorant patients, that’s what they are, have compassion on them who are reacting out of ignorance at a very vulnerable time.

    Again a huge heartfelt refua shleima, may the therapy be light and quick and heal you completely.

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