HOSPICE and Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe (HOSPAZ), an organization that deals with palliative care for cancer, TB, HIV and other communicable and non-communicable diseases have warned that men were not excluded from developing breast cancer and should always be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of the disease.
By Patricia Mashiri
The call also comes in the month when the world is commemorating breast cancer awareness month which is running under the theme Budding Up With One Another Because No One Should Fight Cancer Alone.
Speaking to HealthTimes Mrs Eunice Garanganga, the Executive Director HOSPAZ said the prevalence of breast cancer was on the rise and the incidence in male breast cancer was also on an upward trend.
In Zimbabwe breast cancer is the second most common cancer found in women accounting for 13.5 % after cervical cancer but that doesn’t mean men aren’t at risk as well. Although the percentage of cases in men is much lower than in women, male breast cancer accounts for a small portion of new cases every year. According to 2017 cancer registry report 28 cases of male. (Zimbabwe Blacks 25 which is 0.9% & Zimbabwe non-blacks 3 cases).
“The disease has no barriers when it comes to gender, ethnicity or race, and anyone could potentially develop it, particularly if they have certain risk factors, such as prior oral contraceptive or hormone use, genetic factors and family history. In Zimbabwean non blacks breast cancer is the most common accounting for 35.8% of cancer cases,” Garanganga said.
Breast cancer symptoms in men include painless lump or thickening in the breast tissue, changes to the covering the breast, dimpling of the breast, puckering, redness and discharge from the nipple.
Mrs Garanganga added that “breast cancer can be treated if diagnosed early. There is good prognosis in early diagnosis and treatment. Being vigilant and watching for the early signs of breast cancer is one of the most effective steps in successful treatment. Detecting breast cancer in the early stages before it progresses very far often leads to positive outcomes,”
Meanwhile, Mr Lovemore Makurirofa, the Information Research and Evaluation Officer, at Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) advised men to also take part in the breast cancer screening as so as to detect and treat it early.
“Breast cancer in men and women is the same although men are usually in denial. Men usually come for screening when it comes to breast cancer when its late and they take a long time to come to terms with it that they have breast cancer. Usually by the time they come for screening it will be too late.
“Breast cancer can be treated using surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone treatment” Makurirofa said.