October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and although the disease is less common for men, it’s still something that we should know about and have on our radars.
Number of Men Affected
According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. (That’s in comparison to the 266,120 estimated new cases of breast cancer for American women this year). Amongst those new cases, an estimated 480 men will die due to breast cancer this year.
The American Cancer Society includes everything from a lump or swelling, to the puckering of one’s skin, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, and redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin as possible symptoms for breast cancer in men. They also warn that sometimes breast cancer can cause a lump or swelling under your arm or around your collar bone, signaling it has spread to your lymph nodes.
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A noticeable size difference of one’s breast is the obvious change that men should look out for when attempting to detect breast cancer early. But even then, it can be a bit tricky for a man to detect himself. “Because men have very little breast tissue, it is easier for men and their health care professionals to feel small masses (tumors). On the other hand, because men have so little breast tissue, cancers do not need to grow very far to reach the nipple, the skin covering the breast, or the muscles underneath the breast,” the American Cancer Society wrote on its website. “So, even though breast cancers in men tend to be slightly smaller than in women when they are first found, more often have already spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. The extent of spread is one of the most important factors in the prognosis (outcome) of a breast cancer.”
RELATED: Things in your home thought to cause cancer
Wear gloves when working in the garden, and always wash up before heading inside. Additionally, avoid backyard burning of household trash.
Your big, comfy couch
Your favorite sofa could be killing you, and not just because it lures you away from activity: Many sofas, mattresses, and other cushioned furniture are treated with TDCIPP, a flame retardant known to cause cancer (i.e., a carcinogen). TDCIPP was used so frequently prior to 2013 that a study out of Duke University found it in the blood of everyone they tested. It's also one of ten chemicals most frequently found in household dust, according to this study.
Cadmium is a carcinogenic byproduct of cigarette smoke. If you smoke in your house, cadmium and other cigarette smoke by-products may be lurking, especially on soft surfaces such as curtains and carpet—even long after the smell of smoke is gone. There's even such a thing as third-hand smoke and it's resistant to even the strongest cleaning products. Here's where you can learn more about third-hand smoke and its dangers.
Chromium (VI) is a known carcinogen found in tanned leather, wood furniture, certain dyes and pigments used in textiles, and cement. To give you an idea of the prevalence of chromium VI, one study out of Denmark found that almost half of imported leather shoes and sandals contained some level of the carcinogen.
What can you do?
As with TCIPP, pay attention to labeling. And don't be shy about asking questions of your furniture salesperson.
Your old fridge
According to cancer.org, carcinogenic PCBs can turn up in old appliances, fluorescent lighting fixtures, and electrical transformers. While no longer commercially produced in the United States, PCBs are still manufactured and used in developing countries, and of all PCBs ever produced, up to 70 percent are still in the environment. Diet is another major source of exposure, according to Gushée.
What can you do?
Get rid of those old appliances and fluorescent light fixtures. Pay attention to advisories regarding PCB-contaminated fish and fish-eating wildlife.
Your cleaning products
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen found at home in food, cosmetics, a variety of cleaning products (such as dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, and carpet cleaners), paint, foam insulation, and on permanent press fabrics. In addition, you can be exposed by breathing smoke from gas cookers and open fireplaces.
The dry-cleaning chemical perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene or "perc") is a carcinogen that can build up wherever you store your dry-cleaned clothes. It's also found in spot removers, shoe polish, and wood cleaners.
Phthalates are suspected of causing cancer and may adversely affect human reproduction or development. They're found in vinyl flooring, shower curtains, synthetic leather, miniblinds, wallpaper, and anything made with PVC vinyl. They're also found in food packaged in plastic.
Everyone knows arsenic is poisonous, but in smaller doses, it's also carcinogenic. Yet you can find it in foods you probably eat regularly—including chicken, rice, and certain fruit juices, as well as in degreasing products, dyes, furniture wax, glues, lubricants, nylon, and paints.
Asbestos has been out of favor for decades, thankfully, but you can still find it in the insulation of older homes. As the insulation eventually deteriorates, asbestos fibers become airborne. Since asbestos fibers stick to clothing and shoes, workers exposed to asbestos on the job can also bring asbestos into their homes.
Styrene is a known carcinogen widely used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, which can be made into foam and rigid plastic products such as cups, plates, trays, utensils, packaging, and packing peanuts. Styrene may leach into your hot coffee or soup if you're using styrofoam containers. It's also present in cigarette smoke and in all of these home maintenance, automotive, and crafting products. What can you do? Avoid using styrofoam to hold hot foods and liquids, and read your product labels carefully. Find out the 12 foods you should never microwave.
Pantry pests and other creepy crawlies can carry disease. But if you eliminate them using chemical pesticides, you're increasing your risk of cancer. Chemical pesticides include those that you use on your pets, such as flea collars and tick-repellant.
Radon is formed naturally from the radioactive decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It raises the risk of lung cancer—especially if you also smoke, says Ashley Sumrall, MD, FACP, a Charlotte-based oncologist. If you live in an area where the amount of uranium and radium in rocks is high, you can be exposed to radon through cracks in your foundation. You can also be exposed to radon if you have a granite countertops.
The shower is a great place for men to do a self-breast exam, according to VeryWellHealth.com. With your pecs lathered in soap, the website recommends raising your left arm over your head and placing your left hand on the back of your head, before using your right hand’s index, middle, and ring fingers to check your left breast and nipple for any lumps and swelling or drainage, respectively. Then, switch to your left hand for your right breast. This self-test should be scheduled on the same day as your testicular self-test, as 9,310 new cases of testicular cancer are estimated for 2018, with about 400 of those resulting in death, according to the American Cancer Society.
RELATED: Give back to breast cancer awareness with these products
For the month of October, Kendra Scott is launching a 'giveback suite' of products (10/1-10/31), which includes candles, charms, and pieces of jewelry, which give 20% of proceeds back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)
Manduka launched a limited edition Yogitoes towel and eQua mat, which David Allen, mastectomy tattoo artist, has designed in his signature floral motif, similar to the floral tattoos he creates to cover mastectomy scars. A portion of the proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen to support breast cancer research.
ALEX AND ANI’s Pink Tulips Charm Bangle ($38) symbolizes care in good times and bad, while brightening the spirit in others with its rosy hue and hopeful aroma. The charm bangle benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s mission to fund the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer. Twenty percent of the purchase price of each bracelet will be donated directly to the BCRF through ALEX AND ANI’s CHARITY BY DESIGN program.
Krochet Kids is partnering with The Breast Cancer Charities of Americain donating a beanie for every purchase made for the duration of October. The BCCA will take these donates beanies and distribute them to individuals battling breast cancer in hospitals across the US.
NakedCashmere has extended, and expanded, its charity partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) with the rollout of its new seasonal LOVE collection. The brand will donate $50 for every purchase of its special LOVE scarf, rendered in 100% cashmere with “LOVE” embroidered on it, in three colors: antique pink, chalk and nude ($165). Naked Cashmere will concurrently donate $25 for each purchase of its newly launched items, also in 100% cashmere: Puff LOVE slippers ($95), LOVE gloves ($85), and LOVE pom-pom beanie ($95).
The limited-edition style is available for men and women and features a BCA Satin Ribbon as a pull tab. 20% of the gross sales for each pair sold within the next year will be donated to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
S'well has been a partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® since 2015, and to date has funded over 700+ hours of research. This October, S’well is donating 20% of the retail price of Bikini Pink, Pink Topaz and Geode Rose to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. BCRF’s mission is to advance the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Azazie is partnering with NBCF for the entire month of October to donate 10% from sales of its bridesmaid dresses in three colors: Blushing Pink, Pearl Pink, and Candy Pink.
100% of the purchase price for the new pink “Live Love” graphic tee, and 25% of the purchase price from the sale of every other item in the collection will be donated to the Pink Pony Fund of The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation and to an international network of cancer charities.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Barefoot Blonde Hair founder Amber Fillerup, will be releasing a limited edition collection of the Fill-Ins in Rose Gold, with all proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
dressbarn has again collaborated with Carmen Marc Valvo for a third consecutive year on a special edition collection for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). They will be donating 50% of the purchase price of each product up to $50,000 and customers can also make a donation of $1 or more in all dressbarn stores.
One of the brand’s most popular perfume oils provided inspiration for this soft floral scent featuring a heart of Tart Quince, Jasmine, Pink Freesia and Tender Muguet. All year long, C.O. Bigelow Donates 10% of all sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Saucony has partnered with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to create a limited edition Unity Kinvara 9, of which 20% of each sale will be donated to help fund Dr. Susan Love's pioneering research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Meshki, the Australian-based line, has designed two exclusive styles with the positive messages of empowerment and hope that will be available for sale on Meshki's website from Oct 17th, with 100% of the profits going towards two very special charities; One Girl & National Breast Cancer Association.
LA based apparel brand Koral has partnered with Keep-A-Breast & will be donating 25% of the proceeds from their Lustrous Capri Legging (in the Carmine colorway), Advanced Bra (in the Carmine colorway), and Villa Tencel Jersey Tank (in the White colorway) to the organization throughout the entire month of October.
This October, 100% of the proceeds of MANIC PANIC’s JEM Amplified Hair Color in Pink for the month of October will be donated to CANCERLAND, a media platform focused on changing the conversation about breast cancer through the honest voices of real individuals living with the disease.
Made for "athletes powering through breast cancer recovery," any bra purchased up until October 15 will be matched in donation of an Empower Bra to UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for post-mastectomy women who are looking to incorporate activity in their recovery.
During the month of October, 95% of proceeds from the sale of Beyond Proper’s Beyond Strong Tee will go to The Donna Foundation. In addition to financially supporting those living with breast cancer, DF also funds ground-breaking research working in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic.