Male Breast Cancer Awareness

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One of the main problems is the awareness of breast cancer amongst men. Breast cancer is generally seen as a female disease as 48,000 women are diagnosed each year with the disease as opposed to only 340 men.

Dr Valerie Speirs, who led the study, suggests that ‘lifestyle changes over the latter decades of the 20th century, leading to increased obesity, physical inactivity and development of a binge drinking culture may be contributing factors. Some of the same inherited genetic changes that increase the risk of women developing breast cancer are also thought to influence risk in men.’

The study concluded that men need to get the right treatment and emotional support, as often the guidelines used to diagnose breast cancer are directed at women. The research group is now collecting samples of male breast tissue in order to try and examine the genetics and proteins involved in male breast cancer. This will then allow for a more gender specific treatment.

Increased awareness of breast cancer in men is vital. Early diagnosis will often lead to a better treatment result. Although undoubtedly more women suffer from breast cancer, it should not be presumed that this is a female disease and measures need to be put into place to help support the male sufferers, particularly if the figures are on the increase. Those suffering from breast cancer, regardless of their gender, should be given the support needed to help them throughout and after their treatment.

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Vicky Kunzli

Trainee Solicitor - Clinical Negligence Team

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