My grandma on my fathers side died from this when he was just a kid. I never even had a chance to meet her. That being said there is one thing that has recently bothered me about Breast Cancer Awareness... we typically talk about as something that only effects women but that isn't true. It's more common in women and we're all pretty much already aware of the risks in women.
What we don't talk about, what a lot of people need to be aware of but most aren't is that men can get it too. I bring this up because I also have a male cousin who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our entire family was in shock and couldn't even believe that was even possible. He's technically I guess a second cousin because his dad is the son of my dad's brother. So actually his dad is my cousin and I'm not entirely sure what that makes us. Anyway, I remember his mom shouting "No this isn't possible, my son can not have breast cancer." But he did, he had surgery to remove the cancer and later got tattoos of nipples to look more normal because the surgery left him with no nipples.
I had heard about men getting it one time before that but didn't believe it till it happened in my family. I thought they were idiots because men don't have breasts so how can men get breast cancer. Like so many others tend to believe I thought only women could get it. The reasons we don't generally hear about the male side is that breasts and breast cancer are so commonly associated and thought of as things only women have. It's embarrassing for most men to talk about. And it's sexist to claim this is only a woman's problem. It's dishonest. It is more common in women, that is more accurate, but even though it's rare in men that doesn't mean we don't need to talk about it. If anything that means we should talk about it more because so many people don't even know they're at risk. Women are getting screenings all the time but men aren't, they don't even know it's a risk for them. A lower risk but still a risk.
More people should know about this so that it becomes less embarrassing to talk about, so that men know they should be getting checked for this too. Perhaps not as often as women. And most importantly so other families don't have to go threw the same shock that my family did. Finding out someone you care about has cancer is bad enough on it's own without adding that it's a type of cancer you can't even believe is even possible on top of that. It wouldn't have been as much of a shock if my cousin was a woman because we know breast cancer runs in the family. It's a higher risk factor for us. Other women have been diagnosed between when my grandmother died and when my cousin was diagnosed. It's so common it doesn't even surprise us anymore when it happens to a woman but hearing about a man having it was a shock because we didn't know that was even possible. It's still sad to hear no matter what, that never gets any easier. But the initial shock of no that can't happen to me becomes much more sever when you literally believe that can't happen because of your gender.
If he had been a woman things would have started to calm down after the surgery. Maybe his parents wouldn't have sounded so angry like they thought the doctor was a moron that can't even tell the difference between a man and a woman. The acceptance of the situation would of been much quicker. But instead even after his surgery his parents still did not want to accept that he actually had breast cancer. They wanted to sue for malpractice, for performing a woman's surgery on a man. It took them a long time to accept the fact that male breast cancer is a real thing. I think his mom had the hardest time dealing with it. I'm not sure she ever really got over it. That last I heard she was still in total denial. It's put serious strain on their relationship because she still insists her son can not have breast cancer. It's not even a possibility in her mind because no one talks about it.
We're so open about female breast cancer that I don't think Breast Cancer Awareness is really doing anything when we only seem to repeat things everyone already knows. Isn't the point of awareness to teach people things they don't know? We could still talk about new types of screening for women. I've heard there are less evasive tests avalible now. That would good to talk about. But I just don't like continuing to spread the belief that it's only women who need to get screened.
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