Daily News: Disease

Breast cancer on the rise in men

Dayton Daily News (OH)

12-31-13

Dec. 29--The rate of men being diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing at a faster rate than that of women, according to the American Cancer Society.

Women still account for 99 percent of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, but the rate of men diagnosed with the disease has increased 13.7 percent since 2010. The diagnoses rate for women has increased 12.1 percent over the same three-year period.

"Just because you're a guy doesn't mean you can't get breast cancer; it's not on their radar and it kind of needs to be," said Dr. Elizabeth Shaughnessy, breast surgical director at the UC Health Barrett Center and surgical oncologist at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute.

About 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, with about 450 deaths occurring due to the disease each year, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Any man can develop breast cancer, but it is most common in men who are 60 to 70 years old.

The three most common forms of cancer among men are prostate, lung and colorectal, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Shaughnessy said she handles up to 250 cases of breast cancer in women each year; and a total 10 cases in men during her 16 years of practice.

Throughout her career, Shaughnessy said Mike Shroder, 74, and Patty Stump, 57, of Mason, have been the only husband-wife duo in which she's diagnosed both with breast cancer.

Shroder was diagnosed with an early-stage breast cancer in 2006, and his treatment included a mastectomy and a daily Tamoxifen pill for five years.

Stump's first diagnosis followed the next year in 2007. She was diagnosed again in mid-2011. Both of her cancers, found in stage 0, were found during routine mammograms. In both cases, Stump had a lumpectomy and radiation treatments.

"I caught it from him," Stump said jokingly. "You have to go through it with a sense of humor."

Shaughnessy said about 30 percent of breast cancer incidence in men is genetically related -- that rate is only 15 percent in women. The remaining cases are due to "sporadic factors we don't have a handle on," she said.

Shaughnessy said there has been a lot of research done to determine environmental factors that cause breast cancer, including poor diet and exercise. Shaughnessy said a lot of data points to a high-carbohydrate diet (cookies, cake, breads and soda) having a higher tendency and association of breast cancer.

Stump said in the years between her first and second diagnoses, the advancement in technology allowed her to know the second time around that she had breast cancer before she even left the office after her mammogram.

"Now you know right away; knowing before you leave rather than having the anticipation of a phone call," Stump said. "I was an emotional wreck just accepting the fact I had cancer. Growing up, cancer was a death sentence but now it's so much more treatable."

Both Stump and Shroder -- who have been married 26 years -- have been involved in fundraising and awareness efforts since becoming breast cancer survivors. Stump said there is still a major lack in awareness that men can also get breast cancer.

Stump said during two recent years of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, her husband was called out for trying to walk through the survivor line with her.

"The assumption is he's a supporter for me; it's an awkward situation," Stump said.

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