Category: General health
Odds are, you thought of breast cancer when you read pink ribbon in the title. That’s powerful. Two words that individually conjure visions of crayons and hair ties immediately change their meaning and people’s internal imagery and dialogue when combined. When those two words, pink and ribbon, sit together, images of fundraiser efforts, brave faces, fearless supporters, pink this, and pink that race to our mind’s forefront. And if we’re honest, most think female. Some even refer to breast cancer as “women’s disease.”
Thinking of breast cancer as a women’s disease carries massive consequences.
Men with Breast Cancer Carry a Higher Mortality Rate
The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that men with breast cancer carry a higher mortality rate than women with breast cancer. Due to breast cancer primarily thought of as exclusively a female issue, men often lack awareness and are less likely to assume a lump in their chest is breast cancer. This lack of understanding, and perhaps acceptance, leads to later diagnosis, contributing to the higher mortality rate in males.
The American Journal of Men’s Health exposes a “social construct that connects breasts in general and breast cancer with femaleness.” The report articulates how “… males [with breast cancer] also have to deal with gender aspects of suffering from a perceived woman’s illness and feminization in therapy.” The report points out that “emasculation is a big issue…” for men with breast cancer because they feel ashamed of having an illness thought of as feminine.