Mammograms: they're not just for women!

When most people hear about breast cancer, the negative diagnosis is usually associated with women, but men are susceptible to breast cancer as well. Breast cancer in men is infrequent, but it can transpire. Statistics show that about one percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men. Typically, a mammogram is a tool used to help identify cancer in men and women.

Mammograms

Initially, a mammogram is an X-ray image that is taken of your breast and used to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms can often detect breast cancer in its early stages, which in turn lowers the risk of the cancer developing and can often save lives due to its early detection. During the procedure, your breasts will be pressed between two sturdy surfaces and the breast tissue will be spread apart, so that the doctor can take the X-ray and then examine the pictures for signs of cancer.

Breast Cancer signs in Men

Men will often contain far less breast tissue as opposed to women. Often times, the cancerous signs are easier to spot in men than in women. A prevalent sign of breast cancer in men is a painless lump in the chest region. Sometimes it may even be a thickening in the chest, breast or underarm area. Mammograms are great for identifying lumps long before they can be touched or seen.  

If you notice any alteration in the nipple like it is retracting, itching, or possibly even a scaly rash of the nipple, it may be Paget's disease, which can be linked with breast cancer. Paget disease is an uncommon cancer on the nipple. It has a darker circle around it called the ‘areola.’ While the majority of Paget cases occur in women, it also is also a cancer that men should keep an eye out for. Some more common examples for men with possible breast cancer symptoms are a dripping from the nipple. This is often caused by a blood soaked inflammation of the breast, or you might see a wound in the skin of the breast.

What should you do if you have Breast Cancer? 

Men can often become prideful in regards to their health. With a possible case of breast cancer, it is not different. However, if you are a man or woman and you notice a change in your breast or chest area, you should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The sooner you do this, the better. Breast cancer offers the highest survival rate when it is discovered earlier. A good way to find a competent and trustworthy healthcare provider is to receive a referral from a family member or friend. If you can’t do that, then call your local clinic, health department or hospital.

By Preston Copeland

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