Getting the right balance

When I was told I had breast cancer back in 2019, the first thing I noticed was an imbalance within this condition, which was  not just the obvious male/female aspect, but it was visible diagnosis, treatment, side effects, aftercare, and support.

Breast Cancer is rare, and under 400 men a year in the UK are diagnosed compared to 56;000 women. The system is rightly so, geared towards the majority of need, and subsequently  examinations, tests, diagnosis, treatment options, and aftercare plus support is also geared up and set up, around women. 

Every heart wrenching advertisement you see about Breast Cancer will be about a woman, most if not all fund raising events are Pink, most research into breast cancer has only a-minority or minimal male based evidence.

Support is heavily geared towards women, I’ve on numerous occasions seen nursing staff consoling female patients, in clinic,  spending time with them showing empathy. 
The nearest to that I’ve experienced was sitting in a crowded waiting room waiting to have a Seroma  drained for the 5th time, and also having Celulitis, was a nurse who noticed tears rolling down my eyes. She called my name and took me to a small room, a bit like a store room, she said, “ You might feel better in here, away from the crowd”. 
There was no, are you ok?, No can I do anything for you. No it was more about moving me away in case I upset others who were waiting. (If it wasn’t that, the case well it certainly felt that way). 

There is now, slightly  more support available to men, than just a few years ago, but the direction of change must continue.

Men and support, is another serious Balance issue.
ladies whom have breast cancer, and who seek peer support, there is in these groups a kindred spirit, a unification a solidarity amongst them.

Men appear different. Some play down the condition, and act like it was all a walk in the park.  Some have had the condition a longer period of time ago, and either can’t remember the pains discomforts, or side effects, and therefore don’t show empathy in the same way as our female counterparts. Some men struggle a great deal, and when amongst those who divert from the traumas of this condition can feel like they can’t talk , or are isolated.
This is the sad part about male health in general, the balance of old was “Say nothing , soldier on regardless”.

Cancer in itself is a huge balancing act,  learning to cope in new ways, learning to balance your feelings your pain, your fears. These are often crippling side effects , aside from, treatment like chemotherapy, radiology, hormone therapy, 

Now that this page exists as a stand alone male breast cancer page, can we shine a bit of a spotlight onto and focus on Balance. We all are coping with Breast Cancer, we are all at different stages of this path we find ourselves on, often all a person wants to hear is, “You’ll get there”…… it certainly is “Nice to be Nice”.

What I’m trying to say is each and everyone who has experienced breast cancer has a story, each persons experiences are individual to them….we are are own expert in this matter. ( and  don’t let anyone tell you otherwise)

Thank you for sharing that , it really gives food for thought . I don’t know how I would have got through my breast cancer treatment without the support of ladies on this forum , like you say I’m not sure men seek out support in quite the same way and there needs to be resources and thought put into that .I totally agree with you about the pinkness of this forum and the campaigns , I’ve always felt it could discourage men from joining or sharing here . Best wishes Jill 


What a fabulous post, with a lot to think about contained in the heartfelt words you have written. I have long worried about, and mentioned on here, the ‘pinkness’ and girliness of the Breast Cancer message - I’m sure that alone delivers an isolating message (besides I don’t like gender stereotyping of colours lol). I can imagine that there is isolation for men with BC - its ‘Breasts’ isn’t it, they belong to women and it could be seen as ‘non male’ to have something that women mostly have ! There is a long way to go in delivering the message about men and BC, and understanding that they are potentially going to struggle with the psychological process a great deal - given the complex contexts of being men in the process, and the list of illustrative reasons you have listed above about why they might struggle more.

I agree with all of your points on this @PHBF64  and this forum is a great way for us all to get our points across