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Editorial, Native Health

Breast Cancer… It’s Not Just A Girl Thing

With the arrival of October, Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns are going into overdrive and with good reason. Nearly 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year; more than 11,000 of those women are under the age of 40. 40,000 women will fall victim and die of breast cancer.  And that number is rising.

However, all too often, the comment I receive when speaking about male breast cancer is, “I didn’t know men could get breast cancer.” The media is not geared towards awareness for men, therefore it is no surprise that more people are not aware, let alone knowledgeable in this area.

What doesn’t make the news is that more than 2,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in men and nearly 500 men will die each year. As with women, that number is rising.  Men of African-American decent are more at risk than Caucasian men and men who develop breast cancer are more likely to develop other cancers, and less likely to survive than women. Certain medical and genetic dispositions also create a higher risk for some men while others develop breast cancer with no known risk factors whatsoever.  While the statistics for male breast cancer appear to be low, it is also something that most men (and women) do not consider when it comes to personal health care. It is also our belief, that the numbers for men are grossly under-reported and often not reported at all.

On September 17th our organization held a poker run and benefit to raise awareness for breast cancer and to raise funds to help men and women alike obtain mammograms year round if they are unable to afford them. Unfortunately, local radio stations mistakenly announced that “the cancer poker run has been cancelled due to the weather,” but did not mention which cancer benefit. Sadly, after a year of planning and advertising, only seven bikes and one car participated.

Although we were unable to raise the funds we hoped for, we were however able to meet an amazing number of individuals and offer information and education on how to understand the risks and perform self breast exams.  Education and the willingness to be one’s own advocate is our greatest weapon and in that aspect, our benefit was an overwhelming and amazing success.  We are forever grateful to all of the businesses, organizations, and individuals who donated, volunteered, and participated in support of the cause.

Even though we associate the month of October with the color pink… please remember to paint a little blue in there as well and remind the men in your lives to do breast self exams as well. It could save their lives.

Breast tissue is breast tissue and cancer doesn’t care whether you sit or stand to pee.

Neither should you.

Visit your physician, request an exam, and ask about your risks.

Beki Fox Cain, Director
Ride For The Ribbon

Please visit  “Men Get Breast Cancer, Too!” to read Thomas Bell’s account of his experience with male breast cancer, published by the American Journal of Nursing.

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About RaznCain

Married with five children and five grandchildren, Chloe is a nurse, student, and author that enjoys spending what little spare time she has with her children, riding motorcycles with her husband, reading, and photography. She has five dogs, three cats, and a ball python that she includes in her menagerie of family. According to her husband, she is also an amazing cook and makes the meanest Indian tacos, wojapi, Louisiana gumbo, and blackberry dumplings in the country. Along with her five children, she has an amazing number of kids who have "adopted" her over the years and although an only child by birth, she also has numerous "adopted" brothers and sisters. A Mohawk Indigenous woman, she was brought up in a religiously fanatical Caucasian world with only one word first and foremost in her mind: Survival. Raised in rural Illinois, she spent her youth with an abusive adoptive family which sparked her escape into writing. From her experiences, she has centered her muse on reflecting not only the difficulties, but the victories as well. Schooled in medicine, psychology, and theology, she has continued to educate herself in an attempt to satisfy her addiction and obsession for knowledge, understanding, and justification of the world around her. In 1988, she met and developed a close and loving relationship with her birth mother, Gail Fox. Tragically, Gail was killed in an accident in 1993 yet Chloe is grateful for the short but beautiful time they spent together. Chloe has eclectic tastes in life from Antoine Rubinstein to Slipknot, Twizzlers to Caviar, horses to Harleys, and crayons to CGI. She collects brass, clay, & cast iron cuspidors, antique hurricane lamps, frogs, and memories. An odd one in the least, she does not care for chocolate, diamonds, gold, shopping, perfume, or flowers, although the white daisy will always hold a special place in her heart and is reflected in her photography, poetry, and the many tattoos that adorn her flesh to honor her Grandfather.

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