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Men With Breast Cancer Have Lower Survival Rates, Says Study

October 07, 2019DMT.NEWS

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Men With Breast Cancer More Likely to Die Than Women

Although male privilege is often widely discussed, there is one situation in which men are at a disadvantage—after facing a breast cancer diagnosis.

While breast cancer remains a relatively rare disease as far as men are concerned — 1.21 men per 100,000 being diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2016, up from 0.85 men per 100,000 — it remains a very serious illness. A new study suggests that there’s a higher chance of death in men than in women.

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In a new study published in JAMA Oncology of more than 1.8 million American patients (more than 16,000 of these being men) diagnosed with breast cancer over a 10-year span, men had notably worse survival rates than women. This mortality gap between the sexes persisted “even after we adjusted for known contributing factors including clinical predictors, socioeconomic status and access to care,” according to lead researcher Xiao-Ou Shu of Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Laura Esserman, a breast oncologist said that one of the most important takeaways from Shu's study was the disparity between how male and female patients were treated for the same cancer. Pointing out that the vast majority (84.5 percent) of male breast cancer patients studied were “hormone-receptor positive,” which translates to signify that their tumors grow when subjected to estrogen or progesterone, only a little more than half of those patients (57.9 percent) were prescribed drugs to halt or delay these hormones.

Meanwhile, 75.8 percent of female patients were also declared hormone-receptor positive, but 70.2 percent of female patients were given the same drugs.

Two other dire indicators showed up in the data as well: men who were diagnosed with breast cancer tended to be much older, and also tended to present to physicians with a more advanced form of the disease.

Mathew Knowles, father of Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Solange Knowles, recently shared his own diagnosis with GMA and the stigma surrounding male breast cancer. “I want to continue the dialogue on awareness and early detection — male or female,” Knowles said. “The key to this is early detection.”

“I want men and women to be aware — if you detect the cancer early you can have a low mortality rate and live a normal life, Knowles said. “If you find breast cancer, stage one or stage two, you have a really good shot at a normal life.”

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Christina Majaski, Khareem Sudlow

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