On February 20, my life changed forever when I learned that I had breast cancer. The road to a curewas a journey I never anticipated since, as a man, I knew that my cancer was rare. In the United States, only 2,100 men get breast cancer each year compared to more than 230,000 women.
This infrequency means men and their doctors don’t initially consider breast cancer as a diagnosis, though the same signs and symptoms are alarming for women. Frequently, men get diagnosed at later stages than women, causing a delay in treatment when time is so crucial. As a result, men’s breast cancer mortality rate is higher than women’s.
Knowing the risk of breast cancer can help patients seek more effective, timely care. After discussing my situation with my doctors–Cynara Coomer, MD, and Carolyn Raia, MD–I decided to share my diagnosis publicly to raise awareness.
Today, my treatments are behind me and I am fortunate to have a second lease on life. By going public, I hope and pray that I have influenced a more positive outcome for others.
Let’s not put up a barrier because of gender. We all should pay attention to this: Men get breast cancer.
This post was written by Anthony Ferreri, president and CEO of Staten Island University Hospital and executive director of the western region of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
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