The Crusader Newspaper Group

Men and Mammograms: It Should be a Thing!

Those who know me know that I love the color pink. It is one of my sorority’s colors and represents many causes that emphasize the empowerment of women. Pink is definitely in the forefront when it comes to breast cancer awareness, and during the month of October, we see it everywhere.

But what about the men in our communities? Could it be that because everything is shrouded in pink, men are deterred from learning about breast cancer and getting screenings? Do they feel we are not talking to them, and that the deadly disease only impacts women? It’s time to dispel these “pink” myths and make it crystal clear that men can get breast cancer, too.

Let’s talk about men and mammograms. Due to the lack of breast tissue, men are not routinely offered mammograms.

According to, “A doctor may recommend screening mammography if there is a genetic mutation that increases the risk of developing male breast cancer. Inherited breast cancers are less common, making up 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers. They occur when gene changes called mutations or alterations are passed down within a family from generation to generation. In general, a person’s average risk for breast cancer is very low.”

So, what are the increased risks? Let’s explore:

  1. Family history of breast disease or presence of a genetic mutation – We should always take the statement, “it runs in the family” seriously. When it comes to breast cancer in males, approximately 1 in 5 patients has some type of family history with the disease.
  2. Age – The average age of men with breast cancer is 65.
  3. Elevated estrogen levels – Certain diseases and other conditions that elevate estrogen levels can lead to breast cancer. For example, low doses of estrogen-related drugs that are given for the treatment of prostate cancer may slightly increase the risk of male breast cancer.
  4. Lifestyle factors – As in many other cancers and ailments, obesity and lack of exercise can increase the risk of breast cancer. Exercise lowers hormone levels, alters metabolism, and boosts the immune system. Increasing physical activity can potentially decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.
  5. Alcohol intake – While specific studies have not been done in relation to male breast cancer, generally, drinking two or more alcoholic beverages daily may increase risk of breast cancer.

During the month of October, a big push is made for women to get mammograms, screenings and check for lumps or other abnormalities in their breasts. Men should do the same checks. It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive!

Share this article with the men in your life and encourage a routine check-up with his physician. Your health matters, and so does his!

Dr. Janet Seabrook

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