x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Men risk getting breast cancer too, UAE campaigners warn

Awarness needed for male breast cancer

ABU DHABI // More must be done to raise awareness of the risk to men of developing breast cancer, campaigners say.

The Pink Caravan, a nationwide breast cancer awareness initiative, emphasised it is not only women who suffer from the disease.

“There is a common misconception that breast cancer is solely a female matter,” said Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, the head of the medical and awareness committee.

“Even though the majority of breast cancer patients are women, male breast cancer is very real, a fact that was underscored by the identification of a man with breast cancer during this year’s Pink Caravan Ride.

“Firstly, many men simply do not wish to believe that breast cancer could ever affect them – in their minds it is a female problem that does not concern them.

“Secondly, the social stigma that is often associated with breast cancer grows exponentially when the individual diagnosed is male, which means that many male breast cancer patients are only diagnosed at a very late stage due to a head-in-the-sand mentality.

“Very often they would rather believe that nothing is wrong than seek treatment that would identify them as breast cancer sufferers.”

Since its launch three years ago, Pink Caravan has carried out 21,794 breast cancer screenings, 5,484 of them on men.

The organisation is urging all men to be aware of the often overlooked condition and not be afraid to get checked.

They advise all men to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they find any suspicious lumps.

The charity said male breast cancer, although not as prevalent as in women, can have serious consequences because of the lack of breast tissue in men, which means that the cancer can more easily spread to other parts of the body.

Exact figures for the prevalence of cancer in the UAE are unknown but the charity is lobbying officials to establish a register that would provide a better understanding of patient numbers.

ksinclair@thenational.ae