Here’s why men should also get checked for breast cancer


October is celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness month, and during this time, the conversation normally centres around women and breast cancer. But a general surgeon at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in Westmoreland, Jamaica wants more men to get involved and is advising them to get screened for breast cancer too.

Dr Lincoln Cox said although the disease is rare in men, it is important for them to check for symptoms.

“We urge all males and females with a lump to come in early, once you feel the lump, because that’s the time to treat the lump – the first time you recognise it,” he said.

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Dr Cox said only one per cent of breast cancer patients are men, and those with a family history of breast cancer are at a greater risk of developing it.

“In Jamaica, the leading cause of cancer-related death in men is prostate cancer, and if we look at the genetic syndromes, some of those syndromes are causing increased risk of prostate cancer within men and an increased risk of breast cancer. Once you have men in a family with breast cancer, prostate cancer, they are also of increased risk,” he said.

He pointed out that men should make an effort to get screened early.

“If you have a lady with a breast lump of one centimetre, it may be at a very early stage as opposed to a man, who can have a breast lump of one centimetre and it is at an advanced stage because there is little breast tissue.”

“It doesn’t take much increase in growth for it to attach to the anterior chest walls and get beyond the pectoralis major. Therefore, it is very important that men check themselves,” he added.