Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week

This is Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The numbers tell us how rare male breast cancer is.  1 in 800 men get breast cancer compared to 1in 8 women who are diagnosed.

Those numbers mean very little to my husband.  He was one of 2500 men who were diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

Tom discovered a lump behind his right nipple in April 2017.  His diagnosis was quickly followed by a double mastectomy.  Looking back, the surgery was actually the easy part. When the recovery from the surgery was moving along,  chemo began. Six months of chemo.  This was followed by 30 radiation treatments which were completed February 2018.

We received good news yesterday.  Tom had his 3 month check-up with his oncologist.  He passed with flying colors.  After treating a blood clot for six months, we learned his risk level has decreased greatly and she made some medication changes.  All good steps forward.

Celebrating our wedding anniversary in the hospital after a procedure in 2017.

Men facing breast cancer enter a world of women.  The acceptance and treatment is designed for women.   When Tom explains that he has been fighting breast cancer for the past year, people are often very surprised.  "Didn't know men could get breast cancer." are words he often hears.

Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness.  We see it everywhere.  There are even pink trash containers on our street.  Right there begins the thought that breast cancer is a woman's disease.  I find the use of pinkk offensive on several levels.
Pink ribbons abound in breast cancer awareness
I am not a fan of using pink to increase awareness of breast cancer.  I thought I was alone in my aversion to pink in connection with breast cancer but recently I've found I am not alone.  Nancy Stordahl writes well in her blog about her cancer journey.

Using pink focuses breast cancer awareness on women.  In our family, male breast cancer is a definite reality.  Tom is not the only male family member with breast cancer.   During this month we are bombarded with pink and each times I see it, it stirs up difficult emotions.

There is a growing movement to recognize the reality of breast cancer in both sexes.  I have been in contact with The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.  This group was started by Brett who felt alone in a woman's world when he was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24.  Brett appeared on Good Morning America today as he seeks to increase awareness of men fighting this cancer.

Our faith has been the bedrock of our cancer journey this past year.  Psalm 121 has been a favorite Bible passage of Tom's ever since he sang it in choir at Caledonia High School.  The reality and meaning of these words has become more true in each day of our cancer journey.  We are relying on our help coming from the Lord.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—    where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Psalm 121:1


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