October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: a time to raise awareness and funds for the prevention and cure of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 268,670 people will develop breast cancer, and 41,400 people will die from breast cancer in 2018. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, with 12.4 percent of women developing breast cancer in their lifetime.
Men, on the other hand, have an infinitesimally small chance of developing breast cancer. The chance of a man being diagnosed with breast cancer is only .001 percent.
It is important, however, to remember that although it is not a large number, it is not an inconsiderable population. The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,550 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2018.
That’s 2,550 men whose lives will be forever altered by this diagnosis. The treatment is expensive and hard on their bodies, which are also ravaged by the disease.
In all the advertisements and material for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s rare to find any that feature men. The lack of representation can lead to men with breast cancer feeling alone and as if no one cares about their struggle.
A large part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the sense of community, which helps instill in those with the disease a feeling that they’re not alone. It’s important to include men in this community so they don’t feel alone in their fight.
Watauga County has a male population of roughly 26,000, so statistically there will be 26 men in the community diagnosed this year. It could be any man you know: a classmate, a teacher or a coworker.
Including men in the narrative of breast cancer would help dramatically improve the mood and morale of the men afflicted.
Written by: Q Russell, Opinion Editor @Q_M_Russell