It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and most women know it’s time to get a mammogram, but there is one demographic that may think the exam does not apply to them.
Most of us know there can be severe consequences of not catching cancer in time.
During the month of October, a lot more women are getting checked for breast cancer.
“Every year and every month, there is really no reason why right now should be the time to get checked, but women over the age of 40 should get screening and checked for a mammogram for breast cancer,” radiologist Michael Enslow said.
Research shows that most lives are saved from breast cancer when women over the age of 40 get screened, but the lesson can be different for men.
“For men, the thought of having breast cancer can be embarrassing at first. Breast cancer does happen to men. It’s not as common as it is in women,” Enslow said.
This raises the question: Should men get mammograms?
Right now, the current recommendation for men is that they should not get a mammogram screening unless they have unique risk factors.
“That is usually if they have a first-degree relative that is a genetic carrier. Then those patients, those men, need to see a high-risk specialist and discuss whether screening mammography every year is right for them,” Enslow said.
This raises another question: What about men who don’t have access to their family’s medical history?
“The first sign is typically a lump. It can be anywhere in the breast. What we see more frequently than breast cancer is men that come in with a lump and it is right underneath the nipple. There is a common entity — it is called gynecomastia — where the tissue will react to hormonal changes. When you feel a new lump, it will be worth getting it looked at,” Enslow said.
It is recommended for men who do not have any family medical record of breast cancer that the best time to go get checked is after the age of 40.