POSTED: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 4:55pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 5:22pm
TYLER — As we all know, it's breast cancer awareness month ... and many women are affected by the disease each year.
But what about the men?
Though it's much less likely, men are at risk, too.
About 1 percent of cases are in males, but doctors say it's something that shouldn't be ignored, because the risks could be much higher.
The problem is, many cases in men aren't found early enough, because many men don't check.
"Most men tend to dismiss it," said Dr. Lewis Smith, MD, oncologist at UTHSCT. "They don't pay attention to it. They wait ...'it'll go away' ... unfortunately if it is breast cancer, it will not go away."
Certain men are more susceptible than others, too.
"Men who have higher exposure to estrogens, men who may have received radiation therapy in the past, men who may have had family history of breast cancer ... you also can see it in a genetic abnormality called Klinefelter Syndrome, where there is an extra X chromosome," Smith said.
Those with Klinefelter Syndrome are at 15 to 50 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Recent studies have also shown African American men and women are more likely to die from breast cancer.
So what can men do to make sure doctors catch it before it's too late?
Give yourself regular exams, just like women do.
If you do find something that feels abnormal, Smith says, a mammogram can be done on some men. There are other ways to have it checked, too, such as a fine needle aspiration.