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Male Breast Cancer: A unique emotional challenge

group of friendly senior men

October is well known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, yet a lesser known initiative occurs during the third week of October every year: Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. In keeping with our theme for this month–– “It’s OK, Not to be OK”––we want to specifically highlight the mental, emotional, and psychological effects of breast cancer on men diagnosed with the disease.

Although male breast cancer cases make up less than 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses, more than 2,700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and nearly 530 men will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Due to its rarity, there is a misconception that breast cancer only affects women, leading to the stigmatization of the disease in men, worse health outcomes, and unique psychological effects for male patients. 

Survival rates align closely with females diagnosed at the same stage but the overall prognosis is dampened by the frequent late-stage diagnosis in men. The rarity of male breast cancer has inadvertently cast a shadow over its existence, resulting in a societal misconception that breast cancer is a female-exclusive ailment. This misunderstanding not only leads to delayed diagnosis and worse health outcomes but also propels the stigmatization of the disease in men. The ensuing silence and isolation can exacerbate the psychological distress male patients experience, making their experience uniquely challenging. 

Thankfully, organizations like the Male Breast Cancer Global Alliance (MBCGA) are working hard to inform and drive change. The MBCGA is a non-profit organization that aims to improve outcomes for people affected by male breast cancer by promoting education, advocacy, and research. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness about male breast cancer and ensuring that men with breast cancer receive appropriate care and support. The MBCGA also supports research efforts to better understand the causes and treatment of male breast cancer. By promoting collaboration among researchers, healthcare professionals, and patients, the organization aims to improve outcomes and advance progress towards a cure.

As we navigate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s shatter the stereotypes and shed light on the silent struggles of male breast cancer patients. Recognizing, understanding, and addressing their unique challenges is a collective responsibility. Let’s stand in solidarity, ensuring that every individual—irrespective of gender—feels seen, heard, and supported.

Breast cancer knows no gender, and neither do we. The Outcomes4Me app is designed to be inclusive, offering guidance and resources tailored to everyone’s unique journey with breast cancer, including men. Whether you’re a man facing the challenges of this disease or someone caring for a loved one, our app is here to support you. Embrace a tool that recognizes and addresses your specific needs. With Outcomes4Me, you’re not alone.

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