Friday, March 24, 2023

Dr. Neugut’s Jan 5 article (“Male Breast Cancer”/Health Link) was an important reminder that while rare in men, male breast cancer does occur. One reason that the prognosis for breast cancer in men may be worse than for women is that men are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage. Men don’t routinely have mammograms and don’t realize that they can get breast cancer. They are less likely to worry about symptoms, which can include lumps, thickening or discharge of blood from the nipple.

Any male affected with breast cancer meets national guidelines for genetic testing. Genetic testing not only helps to guide treatment for those diagnosed, but can also provide important information for family members. Awareness of high risk can lead to an earlier diagnosis and there are risk reducing options for carriers. Finally, our community has to be concerned about the 1 in 40 risk among those with Ashkenazi ancestry to carry a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

Sharsheret is an important resource for those with questions about breast cancer, ovarian cancer or hereditary cancer. Contact us at (201) 833-2341 for confidential and free support related to a cancer diagnosis, or concerns about family history. Our genetic counselor and social workers are here to help.

Peggy Cottrell, MS, CGCn

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