Thursday, October 15, 2009

Talk Thursday: One Step At A Time

Along with Domestic Violence Awareness month, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Most aware people know about this devastating disease that afflicts women world wide, but what most people don’t know is that every day men are diagnosed, treated, or not, and die from breast cancer - everyday. Naw, you say. But, oh, it is so sadly true.

The Centers for Disease Control reports in 2005 - 186,467 women and 1,764 men were diagnosed with breast cancer; 41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer. For 2009 The National Cancer Institute estimates 1,910 new cases of breast cancer among men, with 440 deaths resulting from the disease. Yes, the numbers are higher for women. But women are aware, most have been taught by their mothers, doctors, and even in school to do monthly self exams. For men the devastating numbers are climbing. And no one is teaching men to be self aware, and of course to admit, that as a man you might have breast cancer is just un-well-manly.

The first step is admitting the possiblities. Educating both men and women that this cancer doesn’t affect just one gender, but all. The second step is self awareness, sometimes that is the most difficult step. As a woman when was the last time you did a self exam? Or are you going to say, “I just had a mammogram…” ten months ago. Men? That’s what I thought.

Or worse, if you’re under forty you might never have had a mammogram, just your annual check up from your doctor. What’s that you say, you’ve not had a check up since when? Thank you for underscoring my point. Good Health and cancer prevention is proactive, not reactive. Waiting until you have to react to the discovery of a lump maybe too late.

It's just two simple steps, we take one step at a time: education and self examination/awareness.

So what spurred this blog? Yesterday, Peter Criss, founding member and the original drummer for KISS announced he’d been breast cancer free for one year. Way to go and congratulations. But what got me the most, it takes a big man to come out and tell other men to cut the macho crap. You can read a full article on Peter Criss (including some of the statistic’s I’ve used) Original Kiss Drummer Celebrates Surviving Breast Cancer here.

Two simple steps, done one at a time, could someday save us from having to hold Relays for Life filled with thousands of steps to raise more money to find out why.



Psamanthe said...

very good mom.

Steven said...

I recall hearing about male breast cancer a few years ago, but what got my attention was that the rate was much higher than another cancer men frequently suffer from.

Cele said...

Psam, thanks daughter dear.

Steven, it's kind of like Domestic Violence against men, it happens but no one talks about it. Not Macho. We really need to break a few molds, barriers, and stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

Both aunts on my father's side had breast cancer. One went through a double mastectomy which was too late - she died from cancer that had spread. My other aunt found signs early and has been symptom-free since the 90's.

Testicular and prostate checks should also be a standard thing for men.

Cele said...

Sid - so many of us are touched by cancer these days. I'm glad your aunt found it early enough. I thought prostate checks were standard for men over a certain age? I think men need to be educated about breast cancer too.