Male Breast Self-Exams Can Save Lives Too

Every year, October Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps spread the message about early detection through mammograms and self exams. However, this doesn't only apply to women. While the rate of men that develop breast cancer is lower than women, the threat is still a reality. According to the American Cancer Society, each year there are 2,240 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in men, and 410 patients die each year.

Like women, the risk of men developing breast cancer increases with age. The average male is 68 years old when the disease is detected. Additionally, chances are also higher if there is a blood relative (male or female) with the illness.

"It's hard for a man to walk into a doctor's office, and you know, tell the doctor they're worried about a lump in the breast," Dr. C-J Fidler of Abington Memorial Hospital, told Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI.

But it made a difference in the life of Bob Gordon, who was diagnosed with breast cancer early this year. During a self examination, he found a lump the size of a pine nut. The tumor was later removed without the need for him to undergo chemotherapy, according to WPVI.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (as well as other healthcare organizations) has a web-based guide to help men perform a life-saving self exam.

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