Men not immune to breast cancer risk

IT IS not very often that we hear of a man suffering from breast cancer.

Widely thought of as a 'women's disease', breast cancer is uncommon in men, affecting only about 100 men every year.

But it is still a very serious issue.

This week, brave Kyogle man Jack Ellis agreed to talk to reporter Dominic Feain about his battle with breast cancer.

He wants to raise awareness of male breast cancer and let other men know that it could happen to them.

Over the years health workers have done well in educating young women about breast cancer. Women know what to look for, how often to examine their breasts and are generally quick to see their doctor if they find something unusual.

But men have not been taught the same things.

In fact, there is a common misconception in the community that men can't actually develop breast cancer.

It's a lesson that Mr Ellis has learnt the hard way.

The truth is that all men have breast tissue, mainly behind the nipple, although men have much less than women.

And because men are often reluctant to seek medical advice, the cancer often spreads to other areas, such as the lymph nodes in the breast or armpit, before it is detected.

Mr Ellis's battle with the disease led to a mastectomy, which probably saved his life.

Now he wants other men to realise the importance of checking their breasts - and to talk about the issue.

Let's encourage all the men in our lives to do the same.

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