Cancer is Not Pink: Men with Breast Cancer

This is not a picture of breast cancer.

This is not breast cancer.

I am a wimp.

It is so easy for me to sit here and expound: “I am so marginalized! The breast cancer awareness community doesn’t talk about people with mets. We scare them. That 30% figure just doesn’t bear thinking about. That’s why they marginalize us.”

And we are marginalized. That is a true statement. But so are women with mental health issues who have breast cancer. And migrant women. And refugee women. And women in war zones. And homeless women. That is all true.

But you know who is really marginalized? Men with breast cancer. How often are they even mentioned? How often do you (do I?) think of men when thinking of people with breast cancer? Pretty close to never, I’m betting.

Yesterday I encountered Breast Cancer Brothers, a Facebook community page not unlike Telling Knots, the 30%, and I had the opportunity  to exchange a few words with a man who, like me, has metastatic breast cancer. I received a nice comment from his wife, thanking me for sharing their family photo on the 30% page.

My world was jolted.

I admit that it is not very often that I look at my situation and think how much easier it is for me than for someone else. Yes, people have said really stupid things to me about breast cancer, but can you imagine what the men have to go through? I cannot, not really.

I put out a request on Breast Cancer Brothers inviting any man with breast cancer at any stage to write a guest post for this blog. One man has accepted the invitation, which makes me very happy. Maybe more men will agree, too. I’d love that.

Cancer—breast cancer—is no respecter of persons. Cancer does not care if we are rich or poor, married or single, gay or straight, independent professionals or temp workers in a warehouse or street dwellers. Cancer does not care if we are male or female. Cancer is not pink.

I’d like to make a request of everyone who is reading this post: please go over to Breast Cancer Brothers and show them some support. Like the page, leave a comment. Show them that while some of us may feel marginalized, while some us truly are marginalized, we will not marginalize each other.

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24 Responses

  1. gregsmithmd says:

    This is a good one. 🙂


  2. Agnes Prigent says:

    You surely know how to spell generous. 🙂

  3. helensamia says:

    Have done… Supporting

  4. Maxine D says:

    I became aware of men’s breast issues when my stepson had a breast infection…. yes men are definitely marginalised in that area. i will go look and support. Looking forward to your guest bloggers article.
    Prayers and blessings

  5. Frieda Rosenberg says:

    I thought this was very moving.

  6. I have connections with a couple of the members of this group. I think they are having some success getting the word out and I am happy to see you spreading the word, as well.

  7. dear TK,

    I am so grateful to you for your most expansive and kind, thoughtful message of the men who are, indeed, so marginalized as breast cancer patients.. it made me think – what if it happened to my son, a dear friend, any man to whom I am close. you teach us so much about being mindful of others and remind us that compassion and validation and kindness cost nothing and can make a world of difference in the lives of others whose hearts must be hurting. I will visit and do as you suggest, and please tell your guest-post writer I will be honored to read his words.

    love, XOXO

    Karen, TC

  8. Bill - BCB says:

    I look forward to contributing to the blog, as a blue in a sea of pink…I truly feel like a minority. I think that I would like to expand on that with my contribution to the blog. Thank you all for reading and spreading awareness!

    • Knot Telling says:

      Bill, I can’t wait to see your post. Just email it to me when its ready, or if you have any questions.

      By the way, lots of us women with breast cancer, especially those of us with mets, are fed up with the pink stuff too!

  9. 1. you are no wimp. i should have such courage and strength.

    2. I suppose thinking “breast cancer” is only female is kinda like thinking lower g.i. cancer is predominately “male.”

    3. Preconceived ideas are ok too. When we get the new info, we change our ideas. No Biggie there.

    4. Just remember an older fella in Texas luvs ya dearly Knots. And cut your self some slack and smile too.

  10. Mrs W says:

    My husband has just completed treatment for MBC. Breast cancer is not pink indeed, it’s a people’s disease! The sea of pink in an injustice to men and hinders awareness for MBC. This disease accounts for 1% of breast cancers yet it does not receive 1% of research dollars. What is up with that?

    • Knot Telling says:

      Congratulations on your husband’s completing treatment!

      You are right; there is a dreadful inequality in breast cancer research funds and how they are allocated. Thirty percent of everyone who gets breast cancer develops metastasis. Yet there are practically no funds destined for research into mets, either.

      We all need to keep speaking up, advocating, and not letting this fall by the way side.

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