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Jun 5, 2018 09:12PM
You are right. When people think of breast cancer, they usually think of it as a woman's disease. That leaves men out in the cold in many conversations and even research projects. Women who are stage IV think we are often overlooked by "the pinks" and during breast cancer awareness month because the focus seems to be on survivors of early stage disease and prevention. There never seems to be much money targeted to MBC. The reality is, men are ignored more than women with MBC.
Where is the research for male breast cancer? Is it really the same as disease as breast cancer in females? Are there any documented differences that should drive treatment options? Even if you look to awareness and education programs, how often is male bc mentioned? Doesn't this leave men more vulnerable to missing early warning signs? Do physicians know enough about make bc to treat it effectively? Do PCPs look for signs of MBC during routine physicals?
I don't know if I agree that the disease is less traumatic for a man. I have read that some men are embarrassed to even tell people that they have bc because people think it is a woman's disease. Men still get surgery that causes scars. Men are subjected to harsh chemo and radiation, just like women. If they have early stage disease, they still worry about a recurrence. If their bc has a genetic link, they worry about their siblings, children and grandchildren, just like women do. If the have MBC, they face a lifetime of treatment, just like a woman, with the fear of what the next scan will show, just like a woman. They experience pain, just like women. Men die of MBC, just like women.
In some ways, social norms cause specific issues for men because people are unaware that male breast cancer even exists. Women are more likely to find another woman with bc to talk to, either online or in a local support group. How easy has it been for you to find another man who knows what it is like to be a male with MBC? Have you found someone to share your fears, your symptoms, your SEs, your concerns with? I think it is much easier for a woman to do that, if for no other reason because there are more of us.
Do you know how we can help this site bring make bc into more conversations? I know that I, for one, am guilty of aiming my conversations here towards women. I do think there is a thread for male breast cancer, but I don't know how active it is.
How are you doing? Is your disease stable? I noticed that you are triple+, is your treatment helping? Other than hair loss, what SEs are you having. Are they manageable? Does your oncologist treat many men with MBC? Forgive my complete lack of knowledge here, but do any oncologists specialize in male breast cancer? It seems like a good idea to me.
Thank you for pointing out something that we should all be aware of. I hope some men will post on this thread.
Hugs and prayers from, Lynne
6/5/2015, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
6/25/2015 Arimidex (anastrozole)
8/9/2016, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/10/2016 Faslodex (fulvestrant)
8/31/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib)
7/3/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
10/2/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine)
2/11/2019 Taxol (paclitaxel)