FROM OUR EXPERTS
One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it's still rare. It's unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.
If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:
a lump felt in the breast
an inverted nipple
nipple discharge (clear or bloody)
sores on the nipple and areola (the small ring of color around the center of the nipple)
enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
It's important to note that enlargement of both breasts (not just on one side) is usually NOT cancer. The medical term for this is gynecomastia. Sometimes the breasts can become quite large. Non-cancer-related enlargement of the breasts can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol use, weight gain, or m...
When I opted to proceed with reconstruction after my bilateral mastectomy , I was unprepared for the number of steps to complete the lengthy process. Once my new breasts were completely healed, the plastic surgeon gave me the option of nipple reconstruction. I was pleased with the shape of the breasts and the similarity to my former self while clothed; however, I had to admit something was missing. I could only compare it to looking at a face that had no eyes. There were no defining features; only a scarred blank slate remained. Was vanity totally at play? Some women proudly and bravely face the world without reconstruction altogether and others forego nipple reconstruction to avoid the protrusion under clothing. Yet I was still trying to recreate to the last detail what was lost forever. What purpose would reconstructed nipples serve? Surely they would not be useful as nature intended, nor would they likely have any sensation. I...
October is a time for memories. Last Saturday I volunteered at our local Komen Race for the Cure and saw that I'm not the only one who remembers those who have struggled with breast cancer. Everywhere there were T-shirts, signs and pictures of those who have gone before us -- "In memory of" or "in celebration of." I remember Thelma Robinson, my mother's sister. She was diagnosed when her grandchildren were small. Her treatment bought her seven years to watch them grow, but when the cancer returned, her death quickly followed. I remember Katherine Brooks, my friend who did everything she could to stay alive for her three young daughters. She was in bed, weak from chemo, showing me a salad recipe in a magazine. She urged me to take the magazine to try the recipe, but she wanted it back for when she felt better. Katherine never lost hope. I remember Marian Jones, my colleague at work. I had moved away when I got th...
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