The PINK MONTH, THE PINK MAN; Breast Cancer Awareness in Men – Dr. Kyei & Mr. Arthur-Mensah Jnr.
Download pdf: The Pink Month The Pink Man (1)
Everyone, irrespective of gender, is born with some amount of breast tissue. The breast tissue consists of the milk-producing glands (called the lobules) and the ducts that carry the milk produced to the nipples (see Figure 1). During puberty, females begin to develop more breast tissue than males. Additionally, the female breast cells are constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of the female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Apropos, the males eventually do not develop milk-producing breasts. This is what likely predisposes females to develop breast cancer than males. However, because males also have some amount of breast tissue, they can also develop breast cancer.
Recently, the Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service expressed concern with the increasing cases of breast cancer especially among men in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It was indicated that, out of a population of 40 men in the region, up to three men suffer from the disease (Kasapafmonline.com).
This calls for the creation of awareness coupled with continuous education on the subject of breast cancer, especially amongst men today.
Figure 1: The breast tissue
Source: American Cancer Society, 2020
Causes of male breast cancer
Theoretically, male breast cancer occurs when some cells of the breast begin to divide more rapidly than the normal cell division of the breast. The rapidly dividing cells form a tumour that may spread to nearby tissues such as the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Tumour size chart of breast cancer
Source: Medical News, 2020.
General types of male breast cancer
- Lobular carcinoma (cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands)
- Ductal carcinoma (cancer that begins in the milk ducts)
Risk factors of male breast cancer
Factors that increase the risk of male breast cancer include;
- Older age
- Exposure to oestrogen such as taking oestrogen related drugs e.g. drugs used for hormone therapy for prostate cancer
- Family history of breast cancer
- Klinefelter’s syndrome (A genetic disorder where males are born with more than one copy of the X chromosome. As a result, such males produce lower levels of certain male hormones and more female hormones)
- Liver disease
- Testicle diseases or surgery
Symptoms and signs of male breast cancer
- A painless lump that does not move around within the breast or thickening in your breast tissue
- Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling (a slight depression of the skin around the breast), puckering (irregular folding in the skin around the breast), redness around the skin covering your breast
- Changes to your nipple, such as redness around the skin covering your breast, a rash around the nipple, a nipple that begins to turn inward and pain in the nipple area
- Discharge from your nipple which may be stained with blood (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Symptoms and signs of male breast cancer
Source: AABCA, 2020.
Diagnosis of male breast cancer
- Routine physical exams (breast self-examinations)
- Mammography (using X rays)
- Biopsies (examining samples of breast tissue under the microscope)
Treatment of male breast cancer
Generally, male breast cancer detected early have a high probability for treatment success. Treatment options include;
- Surgery to remove the breast tissue
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
Prevention of male breast cancer
The following measures are recommended as guidelines to help prevent breast cancer in men. They include;
- Avoidance of smoking
- Regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant-based foods
- Limiting the consumption of red meats and processed meats
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Limiting or avoidance of alcohol consumption altogether
The month of October is designated by the WHO as the Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is observed to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection, treatment as well as palliative care for the disease.
We, therefore, leave you with these thoughts and reminders;
- Breast cancer is not limited to women alone
- Breast cancer in men is real
- Breast cancer in men is avoidable
- Practice regular breast self-examinations and breast cancer screening test.
Let us all stay safe and healthy by adhering to the above preventive measures.
American Cancer Society, (2020). What is breast cancer in men? https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/what-is-breast-cancer-in-men.html (Accessed October 2, 2020).
A/R: Breast Cancer among men on the rise; voluntary screening crucial. kasapafmonline.com (Accessed October 1, 2020).
African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA) (2020). Breast Cancer 411. Retrieved from aabcainc.org (Accessed October 2, 2020).
Medical News Today, 2020. How does tumour size relate to breast cancer stage? Your breast cancer diagnosis. Retrieved https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis. (Accessed October 3, 2020).
Mr Reginald Arthur-Mensah Jnr (Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Pentecost University).
Dr Mrs Abigail Agartha Kyei (Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Pentecost University).
The team at it again
Thank you soo much for this education
Thank you Doc and Mr Arthur Mensah for always educating us👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Very Educative and this will help increase the awareness on breast cancer especially to we the males w who think that the prevalence of breast cancer among us is 0%
Good job bringing to the world’s notice that breast cancer can also occur in men. Very educative.
This is good. We only think of women when it comes to breast cancer. Thanks for the education
Very educative. Men must also step up to avoid breast cancer.
Nice, and well done. Thank You.
Great. Very informative
Every man ought to read this. Thank you very much for this education.
Thanks for the education and creating awareness of male breast cancer👍🏼
Thank you so much for Educating us.
This is enlightening. At the mention of breast cancer, all minds are skewed towards the female gender. A lot of people are oblivious of the fact that men are also prone to breast cancer. Thank you for bringing it into light
Thank you so much for Educating us.
Wow that’s another incredible move
Keep it up
We appreciate you guys so much
Very educative. Men must also step out to avoid breast cancer.thank you so much.
Great piece …
most people dont know about breast cancer in men. Thank you for educating us
Very educative. Most of us do not think of the men when it comes to the issue of breast cancer.
Wow. Thanks for this enlightenment.
Wow. I didn’t know men can also get breast cancer. Thanks for educating me
Mem are also at risk of getting breast cancer. This is very educative. Thanks for sharing
Just on point
Just so timely
Detailed write up.. Thanks for the alert especially among we the males.
Thanks very much Sir and Madam🤝