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Overlook ladies, males can also be afflicted by breast most cancers


Srinagar,
Feb 9: “Men haven’t got breasts, they have chests,” Abdul Majid (name-changed),
60, an orchardist from South Kashmir tried to reason with the doctor when he
was tested positive for cancer in his right breast.

Majid’s
story dates back to 2019 when he noticed a lump in his right breast, which grew
in size by the day.

However,
it was only when bleeding happened he decided to consult a physician without
telling his family.

 

As
luck would have it, Majid’s doctor also did not pick up the warning sign
either, and put him on a course of antibiotic.

“After
taking antibiotics, the symptoms subsided temporarily but returned after almost
a year. He again asked me to repeat the medicines. I changed my doctor when I
developed pain in that area,” he said.

This
time again, Majid felt reluctant to tell his wife about the pain and confided
in a family friend who took him to an oncologist.

“I
asked him to get a specialized test— Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC),
done. The result was positive for cancer. 
The biopsy also confirmed stage-II cancer that was spreading,” said Dr
Ulfat Ara Wani, Medical Oncologist at Government Super Specialty Hospital
Shireen Bagh.

The
doctor noted that his frequent exposure to pesticide sprays was one of the
contributing factors for his disease.

Similarly,
Riyaz Ahmad, 59, found it difficult to accept that he suffered from the breast
cancer after his results confirmed the disease.

“For
me cancer meant death; so for a couple of hours after I saw the reports, I just
sat silent without uttering a word. It was difficult to accept for me as I used
to live a healthy lifestyle,” Riyaz said.

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In
Kashmir, it’s common misconception that only women are susceptible to breast
cancer, when in fact, men can also suffer from the disease.

According
to the official data released by the Regional Cancer Center, SKIMS, the total
number of cancer patients reported in 2019 was 4,378.

However,
this year alone, 335 patients are confirmed with malignancy so far.

An
official of the SKIMS said wishing not be named said, “Unfortunately there is
no epidemiological data on the breast cancer available at the hospital and
neither have we kept a record of that.”

Dr
Ulfat noted that even though cases of breast cancer among men comprise only
around one per cent of the total cases, the risk of mortality is higher due to
late diagnosis.

She
said a major hurdle for early treatment in male breast cancer patients is a
common misconception that the disease is limited to women.

Similar
to women, breast cancer in men appears as a lump in the breast or armpits or
there are changes in the skin around the nipple, as per the doctor.

A
family history of breast cancer – in both men and women – is a strong risk
factor, and lifestyle changes can also increase the chances of the disease.

 “When it comes to male breast cancer, one in
five has a family history. Inherited mutations in certain genes confer a very
high risk of breast cancer, especially the BRCA 2 gene which has a lifetime
risk of about six in 100 men with breast cancer,” said a senior oncologist at
SKIMS.

Oncologists
suggested a regular check-up for men with a family history of breast cancer and
those who observe lumps in the region.

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“The
breast malignancy campaigns should be organized on a mass scale to curb the
incidence of this disease. Once people are fully aware, they won’t shy to
report the signs and symptoms of the disease,” Dr Ulfat said.


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