Heredity Link Makes Male Breast Cancer Lethal
By Shalet Jimmy | Published: 04th May 2014 08:53 AM |
Cancer experts who cite figures to suggest that cases of male breast cancer are on the rise in the state say breast cancer is far more dangerous when it affects men, thanks to the heredity factor.
“Once a man is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is certain that any member of the family will get the anomaly. But breast cancer in women need not always be hereditary,” said Dr Chithradhara of Lakeshore Hospital.
Dr Chithradhara, who has performed surgeries on 10 male breast cancer patients so far, said that though the numbers were not as high as in the case of women, it would not be wrong to assume that the anomaly was gradually increasing. “Internationally acknowledged medical literature says one percent of men are diagnosed with breast cancer. There is no dispute over the fact that breast cancer cases are drastically increasing in the state. Hence we have to presume that the graph of breast cancer in men is showing a slight upward trend,” she said.
Worsening the situation is the fact that even if diagnosed at an early stage, only 45 percent of the cases can be cured.
Sixty-four-year-old K Subramaniam from Perumbavoor could save his life as he already had a family history of cancer.
“My mother died of cancer when I was barely two years old, and after many years my sister died of breast cancer. Both were unaware of it. Four years ago I rushed to a doctor with persistent backache. He confirmed that I have bone cancer. But after six chemotherapy sessions and 12 bone injections, I was out of danger for two years till being diagnosed with breast cancer recently. The surgery has been done and now I am on chemotherapy,” he said.
But after a few days, chemotherapy was stopped temporarily as he was not physically stable to undergo it. Dr Boban Thomas of KIMS Pinnacle, Thiruvananthapuram, said breast cancer occurs as a swelling near the nipple. “If left unattended, it could spread from breasts to the axial and then to armpits,” he said adding that though mammography could be used, it had limitations.
“Usually, it is done by compressing breast tissues. But it will not be that effective for men as they have a small amount of breast tissues,” he said. Ultra-sound scan and self examination are the only means to detect breast cancer early. “Swelling near the nipple shouldn’t go unattended,” Dr Chithradhara said.