Male breast cancer
Breast Cancer,  Men's Health

Men Get Breast Cancer Too

Breast cancer. When you hear those words, there’s a natural inclination to think of women. After all, we’re told both men and women should perform self-examinations, yet ongoing attention and emphasis are often directed towards women’s experiences. But what if the person with the diagnosis is a man? I’ve always felt it necessary to stress that breast cancer does not discriminate and it affects both sexes.

This distinction struck close to home this summer when I was introduced to Warren, the brother-in-law of a good friend of mine. Warren was initially diagnosed with Stage 2 male breast cancer at age 53. After additional medical testing, it was determined that Warren’s cancer had metastasized and he is now living with a Stage 4 diagnosis. He bravely shared his story as part of I WANT YOU TO KNOW, a photo essay I co-produced with award-winning photographer Hilary Gauld and Jenny Dale of Dense Breasts Canada. He also shares his thoughts in a behind-the-scenes video accompanying the photo essay. 

Male breast cancer is indeed less talked about and quite rare, representing about 1% of all breast cancer cases but it doesn’t make it any less critical. Men have breast tissue too, and they should also be vigilant through body self-awareness, self-exams and regular check-ups. There are men like Warren, Phil Alderson who bravely share their stories and advocate for their male counterparts, and organizations such as the Male Breast Cancer Alliance focus on awareness-building, research and treatment. 

The battle against breast cancer is indeed weary, but it’s easier to fight when we realize it’s a shared battle, traversing gender boundaries. Despite our different genders, our courage united us, and together, we learned to navigate the challenging terrain that is a cancer diagnosis.

Ellyn Winters-Robinson is a breast cancer survivor, entrepreneur, author, in-demand speaker, women’s health advocate, professional communicator and a globally recognized health rebel. Ellyn's best-selling book "Flat Please Hold the Shame," is a girlfriend’s companion guide for those on the breast cancer journey. She is also the co-creator of, the world’s first conversational AI companion for those on the breast cancer journey. With Dense Breasts Canada and award-winning photographer Hilary Gauld, Ellyn also co-produced I WANT YOU TO KNOW, a celebrated photo essay showing the diverse faces and stories of 31 individuals on the breast cancer journey. Ellyn’s story and have been featured in People Magazine, Chatelaine Magazine, the Globe and Mail, CTV National News and Your Morning, and Fast Company.

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