Breast Cancer Not Always Pink

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A provocative new photography series is highlighting an uncomfortable truth: men get breast cancer too.

In a strange twist of fate that’s something cancer biologist Oliver Bogler knows that only too well. Five years after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46 he too was diagnosed with breast cancer, also aged 46.

New York fashion photographer David Jay had already started The Scar Project, a continuing series of mostly black and white pictures that capture the devastation of breast cancer, but it mainly featured women with breast cancer.

 As the New York Times reports, Dr Bogler approached David Jay with a proposal – why not also photograph a Male Scar Project?

Breast Cancer Not Gender Specific

Fewer than 1 per cent of cancers are diagnosed in men, but very few men realise they can even get breast cancer, so are likely to ignore lumps if they arise.

While ovarian, uterine, prostate and testicular cancers are inherently gender-specific, breast cancer is no more gender-specific than lung or colon cancer.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Inherited gene mutations
  • Radiation exposure
  • Extended occupational exposure to certain chemicals or intense heat
  • Obesity
  • Liver disease
  • Alcoholism

Raising Awareness

One of the subjects, William Becker, of Bridgeport, Conn., said he had wanted to be photographed to raise awareness among men who may be ignoring a lump, not realizing it could be breast cancer.

“I was dealing with a lot of health issues that could have been avoided had I done something sooner about the lump that I had found on my chest,” Mr Becker said. “No man should be going through what I was enduring.”

 

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