Men taught about breast cancer signs

Reach for Recovery peninsula branch chairwoman Carla Lind and vice-chairwoman Michele Coe.

While only a small percentage of men are diagnosed with breast cancer, it is still something they should be on the lookout for, especially if they are 68 and older.

This was the message from Reach for Recovery peninsula branch chairwoman Carla Lind, at the organisation’s monthly meeting, where the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer and its treatment options were discussed.

Ms Lind said that while there was a perception that men could not get breast cancer, there was a possibility, albeit a small one.

“Sometimes men feel the bump but don’t think anything of it. It is important to have it checked out as soon as you notice it,” she said.

Ms Lind said men aged 68 and up were more likely to be affected, if it ran in the family, or men who had had prostate cancer.

Symptoms include a painless lump behind or near the nipple or in the armpit, thickening breast tissue, a change in the appearance of the nipple, puffiness, redness or nipple sores and ulcers.

The branch’s vice-chairwo-man, Michele Coe, said a clinical breast exam; imaging tests such as a mammogram and ultrasound; and a biopsy were used to make a diagnosis.

Treatments included the removal of breast tissue and surrounding lymph nodes; removal of the sentinel lymph node to determine if the cancer had spread beyond the breast tissue; radiation therapy; chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

Reach for Recovery’s next meeting is at its Mowbray offices on Thursday August 29, at noon, with Dr Irene Boeddinghaus talking on the topic: “Are cases of breast cancer increasing and if so, why?”