Source: Image: Thinkstock
Men make up less than one percent of all breast cancer cases’about 200 a year in Canada’but their mortality rate is 40 percent higher than women’s. Since male breast cancer is misunderstood, misdiagnosed and stigmatized, men’s diagnoses often come only after their disease is advanced.
Retired police officer Peter Platt of Ottawa knows this first-hand. Three years ago, after his wife persuaded him to see a doctor about his breast lump, Platt was stunned to learn it was breast cancer, then angry when he found little information for men on this ‘women’s disease.’ After undergoing a mastectomy, lymph node dissection, chemotherapy and radiation, he joined a support group where members discussed everything from their treatments to their sex lives. As the only man in the group, he says, ‘I had breast cancer and I needed help, and they helped me.’
Platt, now 65, was initially irritated at all the feminine, pink-coloured branding of breast cancer awareness campaigns that was ‘thrown in my face. But then I realized, do what you gotta do to get money for research.’ He soon became the only male director at Breast Cancer Action, a grassroots education and advocacy organization.
Platt, whose breast cancer has, unfortunately, metastasized to his bones but has stabilized, continues to promote awareness of male breast cancer through blogs and Facebook.
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