During Men’s Health Week (10-16 June 2019) Breast Cancer Haven aims to raise awareness of breast cancer amongst the male population and remind the public that the charity’s services are available to anyone affected by the disease
Breast Cancer Haven CEO, Sally Hall, said: “Although rare, men can get breast cancer and around 390 men (compared to around 54,800 women) are diagnosed each year in the UK. With many men unaware of the potential risk and side-effects of the disease, Breast Cancer Haven can make a real difference to a breast cancer diagnosis.
“From an initial assessment with a healthcare professional to build a personalised programme of support to counselling and specialist therapies – as well as nutritional and financial guidance – we’re here to help restore an individual’s emotional and physical wellbeing.”
To raise awareness throughout Men’s Health Week, the charity’s website and social media channels – which are normally very female-focused – will undergo a ‘male makeover’. The website will turn blue, the charity’s male service users will take centre stage and male breast cancer symptoms and statistics will be shared.
CEO, Sally Hall, added: “The aim with the ‘male makeover’ is to break down barriers for men accessing the charity’s support services. We want to highlight the incidence rates in men and move away from the familiar ‘pink’ breast cancer branding which can alienate men with the disease.”
Breast Cancer Haven visitor, Dr Olu Taiwo, never considered that, as a man, he could develop breast cancer. But, shortly after booking a check-up for a painless lump on his chest, Olu was diagnosed with the disease. The diagnosis came as a total shock. Dr Olu Taiwo leads a lifestyle that can only be described as remarkably healthy.
“Between being a husband, a dad and lecturing at the University of Winchester, Olu eats well and follows a strict exercise routine. For over thirty years he has ensured that he practices basketball, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, yoga and meditation on a regular basis.
Dr Olu Taiwo, explains: “My first thoughts after being diagnosed were about my wife and two children – this was certainly going to impact their lives. Once the doctors explained the treatment I would need – six courses of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiotherapy – I immediately got to work learning the science behind all of the drugs and procedures that were on offer. I was determined to take control of the situation so that I could make the right decisions for me and my family.”
After coping with the unpleasant side-effects of chemotherapy, mastectomy and radiotherapy, Olu visited Breast Cancer Haven for some additional support. He was given a free personalised programme of support which included reiki, nutritional therapy and acupuncture.
He said: “I can’t stress how amazing the staff were at Breast Cancer Haven. As a man, I felt really welcomed, understood and listened to, even though so few men experience breast cancer.”
In the UK it is estimated that men have a 1 in 870 lifetime chance of getting breast cancer. Key risk factors include getting older (most breast cancers are diagnosed in men between the ages of 60 and 70), high oestrogen levels, and men who have female relatives with the disease, especially if the women are closely related (mother or sisters).
The most common symptom for men with breast cancer is a lump in the breast area, which is nearly always painless. Other symptoms can include*:
• Oozing from the nipple (a discharge) that may be blood stained
• Swelling of the breast
• A sore (ulcer) in the skin of the breast
• A nipple that is pulled into the breast (called nipple retraction)
• Lumps under the arm
• A rash on or around the nipple
*Source: Cancer Research UK.
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