Only about 1 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States occur in men. Though this number may seem small, it’s extremely important for men to be aware of their risk for breast cancer, especially in the senior years. Jefferson County elderly care professionals share 4 things elderly men need to know about breast cancer.
1. The Symptoms Are Often Subtle
Though breast cancer is much more common in women, thousands of older males are diagnosed with this condition every year. However, men are often diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer because the symptoms and side effects are so subtle. Some men feel tenderness in their breasts, but the vast majority notice nothing more than a small lump near one of their nipples.
2. Genetics Play a Major Role
Doctors do not know exactly what causes breast cancer in men, but there are a few variables that can increase a senior man’s risk of developing this condition. Obesity, genetics, and exposure to radiation are all major risk factors. All older men who have a family history of breast cancer should feel for lumps at least once a month and be professionally tested at least once a year. Even if only their female family members have had breast cancer, men still have a slightly high risk of developing it.
3. An Early Diagnosis Is Vital
Breast cancer is diagnosed and treated in the exact same way for both men and women. If an older man notices a lump in one of his breasts, he should immediately notify his doctor and ask for a mammogram. Once the mammogram is complete, a biopsy must be taken of the tumor. In its earliest stages, male breast cancer can often be treated with a quick and safe removal procedure.
4. Support Groups Are Effective
There are support groups for all types of cancer, including male breast cancer. These groups can help older men manage the wide array of emotions they are likely to experience after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Maintaining a positive attitude throughout the treatment process can drastically increase a senior man’s quality of life and impact his or her physical wellbeing.
For tips on reducing breast cancer in older men or women, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of respite and 24-hour care Jefferson County families trust, and our caregivers can provide transportation to and from medical appointments, assist with exercise and meal prep, and help with a variety of important tasks around the house. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Care Managers, please call (303) 987-5992 today.