Most Americans can correctly identify a single loop of pink ribbon on any given product as a breast cancer awareness ribbon. The pink ribbon and the adoption of pink generally have become visual symbols of breast cancer awareness. It serves as support on behalf of a major charity, marketers, and even major sports franchises. The pink campaign has done wonders for female breast cancer awareness. Unfortunately, the feminine pink symbol has done little for awareness of male breast cancer. With little awareness, numbers are proving a higher rate of delayed diagnosis for males.
Limited Public Awareness
Focus being more on female breast cancer than male breast cancer means public ignorance of the issue. Partially due to a lack of public education, the rates for misdiagnosis are high. Delayed diagnosis and failure to diagnose cancer of the male breasts are tragically high as well. The public does not generally think of men as having breasts that can be affected by cancer. However, muscle and fatty tissue on the male chest can indeed be targeted by cancer growths.
Difference in Numbers
Women in America are diagnosed with approximately 232,000 cases of breast cancer each year. In contrast, American men experience just under 2,300 cases. There are good reasons why the bulk of breast cancer awareness campaigns should be targeted at women. But enough men suffer from this potentially deadly condition as well. In fact, there could very well be more cases for men! These would be cases that went undiagnosed or were misdiagnosed. For this reason, physicians and the public alike should be paying much closer attention to this issue.
It’s no secret that men are more reluctant to visit a doctor when feeling under the weather. An increase in public awareness could entice more men to visit their doctors more frequently. Until the public is properly educated and knows more about male breast cancer, this won’t change. First, it is critical that men get suspicious lumps checked out. If their doctors dismiss them, a second opinion is in order. Second, physicians must take any evidence of potential breast cancer in men seriously. Failure to do so could lead to legitimate medical malpractice claims. By working together to increase both awareness and intervention, physicians and the public can help! This would help to decrease the high rates of delayed diagnosis related to male breast cancer.
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