Living as a Male with Breast Cancer

Khevin Barnes is a cancer survivor, as he won his battle with breast cancer. While less than one percent of breast cancer diagnoses are males, it is very important to know that this disease affects both males and females. Khevin speaks of some of the things he wish he knew when he received his diagnosis.

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer forms in the cells of the breast, and it has the ability to affect both males and females. It is often noticed as a lump in the breast, but there are many other signs that point to breast cancer. These include a change in the size, shape, or appearance of the breast, changes in the skin, and inverted nipples; peeling, scaling, redness, crusting, flaking, and pitting of the breast skin may also appear. While the exact cause of this cancer is unknown, medical professionals are aware of a number of risk factors. Being female, of older age, being obese, exposure to radiation, drinking alcohol, and a number of other things increase the likelihood of breast cancer. There are also two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that can be inherited from parents that also increase the risk of breast cancer.

What Khevin Wishes He Knew

One of the biggest things Khevin spoke of is his unawareness that males could also develop breast cancer. While it is very rare for men to get it, there should be more public knowledge. More awareness allows for more diligence; males will be more likely to notice a change in their own breasts.

He also mentions that there are support groups for orphan and rare diseases, despite there being a low number of people affected by them. Feeling isolated after receiving a diagnosis is very common, but there are groups for everyone. Khevin found The Male Breast Cancer Coalition, which he said helped him feel less alone.

Because females are mostly impacted by breast cancer, the majority of breast cancer research focuses on them. Khevin says that while the anatomies and responses of males and females are different, all research does help everyone. This research includes advancements in immunotherapy, diagnostics, and other treatments.

More advice that Khevin gives to those with a new cancer diagnosis is that oncologists are people too. It is okay to question them and make sure that they are doing what is best for you. Asking about medical jargon and for clarification is absolutely fine.

The last thing he wishes he knew is that his cancer diagnosis would soften him. Being told that you have a life-threatening illness is terrifying; it can make you forget that you’re still alive. He spoke of the importance of acknowledging that you’re still living and can enjoy life, even if the cancer can come back. He stresses that even though a diagnosis is life-changing, it doesn’t have to be life-ending.

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