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