Check your Breasts – Yes Men You Too!

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BY MICHELLE SMITH

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and it is important for both women and men to practice breast awareness. Understanding what changes to check for is important so you can discuss it with your health care provider.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation it is estimated that 25,000 women and 220 men in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer and that 5,000 women and 60 men will die from the disease in 2015.  Breast cancer in men is not well understood which is why it is misdiagnosed or diagnosed late.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a painless lump near the nipple or discharge from the nipple. Due to the rareness of Breast Cancer amongst men it may not be recognized by your doctor. Always be aware of changes in your breast and always know that risk factors for breast cancer in men are the same as for women

  • A family history of breast or ovarian cancer that may suggest an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • Lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, being an unhealthy weight or physically inactive

The risk factors of developing breast cancer is not the same for all women or men, but depending on your degree of personal risk you should focus on reducing your risks and being aware of changes in your breast.

If you are a woman over 40, you should consider breast cancer screening.  Mammogram is the most commonly used method of breast cancer screening in many places. It has been widely tested and proven to help reduce deaths from breast cancer by 25-35% in women who start screening by mammography from the age of 40. Please note this is just a guideline and that the ultimate screening will be to be breast aware by noticing changes in your breast. This article is for Women and Men of any age and is dedicated to my sister who I lost to Breast Cancer at age 36.

Remember you are the most important part of your health care team.

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