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I'm going to be talking about a rather touchy subject today. So if you get offended, or if my angry tirade goes somewhere you don't want to go, click that handy little X in the top right corner of your screen.

 I was purusing FastWeb today, going through scholarships, and I came across The MaryEllen Locher Foundation Scholarship. The description under this scholarship made me very, very angry.

 "The MaryEllen Locher Foundation Scholarship is available to students who have lost a mother to either breast cancer, or complication resulting from breast cancer, or have a mother who has survived breast cancer."

I realize that the majority of breast cancer patients are women.
I understand.
Really, I do.



 Men get breast cancer to.
I know this quite well. My dad had it.
He went on the locals news several years ago and did an interview when he was going through treatment. Wherever there was an opening for women to speak about breast cancer, there was a fence for dad to vault before he could speak.... and sometimes is was laced with razor wire. Women tend to be incredibly posessive of this disease. The pink ribbon, the various Foundations (i.e. Koman, or Locher)... everything is geared towards women. My dad can't participate in the Koman Foundation's fundraising races, because he's a male survivor instead of (1) a female survivor, or (2) a female or male friend of a survivor. Does anyone else sense something WRONG here?
It's called Gender discrimination.

 The National Cancer Institute, on their information/statistics page about breast cancer, only give statistics about female breast cancer.

 The American Cancer Society, in their 2007-2008 Breast Cancer Facts And Figures book, stated: "Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with advanced disease and thus have poorer survival. Late-stage diagnoses are more common in men because they may not be aware of, or respond as quickly to, changes in their breasts and because they are not screened for breast cancer."
But then they follow this disturbing fact with, "Mammography is not recommended for men because breast cancer in men is rare."
Sooo... let me get this straight...
  1. Men can get breast cancer.
  2. Their advanced-disease-diagnosis rates AND mortality rates are higher than women's, because they're either not aware of the risk or not enlightened in the self-exam department.
  3. But hey, don't worry about exams... You *probably* don't have anything to worry about. Just cross your fingers and hope you're not one of the 2%. Peace.

Even in this video, which DOES encourage men to be on the watch and get checked up, they call male breast cancer "exceptionally rare", which it is NOT. 1 out of every 150 cases is not EXCEPTIONALLY rare.

 And yes, according to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, "over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 die each year. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year."
I do acknowledge that it is much more common in women, and that's why there's such a big push.
But I desperately wish to see male breast cancer mentioned whenever female is. Just because there are fewer zeros behind the mortality rate doesn't mean it's any less crushing, or a less immediate problem.

Sometimes, when I talk about this, people say that I'm biting the hand that will someday feed me. It's true, I suppose. I have very high chances of getting cancer and the odds of that cancer being breast cancer are even greater. The gene is on both sides of my family.
Hey, if you want to call me ungrateful, you go ahead and do that. You want to call me fortunate for living in a society that has readily available treatment and screening procedures to ensure my survival of the intrusive disease, fine. The latter is right, of course. I am fortunate. We all are.

But while we are rich in procedures and resources, we are poor in awareness.

While I wait for the rest of the world to catch on, I support the John W. Nick Foundation. Their mission -  "To educate the world about the risk of breast cancer in men, and to provide preventive and reactive measures to cancer through education and research."



  1. Hm. I must say I had never even heard of this until you had mentioned it. And that is sad. It's quite unfair to have things that are just as devastating to families and friends be ignored by the public simply because it's rare.


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