In a study carried out on homosexual men, it was found they are twice likely than to have been ever diagnosed with cancer or even survived one. This is a clear indication that gay people might be facing very unique medical risks. It wasn’t the first time those researchers ever noticed differences in risks of health that are linked to orientation of sex. In many researches carried out it has come out clear that Gay men, perhaps are at higher risks of being infected with HIV while lesbians are more likely to be to get breast cancer than any other women.
In a new study which was published in Cancer online on May 9, researchers had made examination on surveys that had involved about 122, 000 residents from California who were interviewed in the year 2001, 2003 and 2005. In addition to other things, the researchers were perhaps interested in mostly the sexual orientation of the participants and whether any of them has ever had a diagnosis in breast cancer. From the research, it was reported that about 8 percent of the gays who participated had ever had cancer, results which were almost double a rate experienced in the bisexual men or the heterosexuals surveyed. Lesbians never reported higher risks of Cancer compared to other women but survivors of cancer who were lesbians, reported to have had poor or fair health in comparison to women who were heterosexuals. However, the study never stated whether gays had a likelihood of developing cancers because it never included people who had died from any disease or anyone who could have been too ill to reply to questions.
Men bear a minimal amount of breast tissues that are nonfunctioning, i.e. one that can never produce milk, which is normally concentrated directly at the back of the nipple located on the wall of the chest. As that of the women, breast cancer in men is still the uncontrolled growth occurring in the abnormal cells of the tissues of the breast. The breast tissues of both the young girls and the boys, consists of tube like structures referred to as ducts. Unlike in ladies, testosterone, the male hormone suppresses growing of tissues in the breast and stops the lobules from developing. Hence the breast of males is comprised of small ducts that are undeveloped and fat in small amounts and other connective tissues.
Breast cancer in males is rare accounting most probably for about 1 percent of all diagnosed breast cancers. In an estimation carried out by American Cancer Society in 2010, 1970 cases of breast cancers in men were reported upon which only 390 deaths were reported. The major cases reported of male cancers are of those within the age of 60 to 70. Hence, the risk of a man developing cancer of the breasts is approximately 1/10 in every 1,000 men.
The type of breast cancer common to men is the infiltrating ductal carcinoma i.e. the one which originates from the tubular structures of the breast and probably spreading beyond the ducts that surround the tissues. Other common types in men are the inflammatory carcinoma, papillary carcinoma and medullary carcinoma named for their microscopic appearance in addition to their growth. 85 percent of cancers found in men bear the estrogen receptors bound on their cell membrane which allows molecules of estrogen to bind to the cells of cancer hence stimulating the multiplication of cells and their growth.
It is unaware to most people that men can actually develop breast cancer because it is a perception among many that men don’t have breasts. In a study carried out in the United Kingdom, it was found that each year about 46,000 cases of breast cancers are diagnosed but among them 300 are men. The causes of the cancer in men are not known; however factors that might increase risks are increment of age with most men being over 60 years of age. Radiation exposures is also another cause especially during radiotherapy treatments, obesity is another which is more significant with men 35 years and above. Of course, not forgetting genetic links, this is most prevalent in first degree relatives who at young age had cancer. But also, estrogen in high levels resulting to the damage of the liver accompanied by other conditions can also increase risks. Finally is a hereditary condition called Kleinfelter’s syndrome that also increases the risk of breast cancer.
The commonly witnessed symptoms include, a lump in the nipple or in any other part of the breast, discharge from the nipples, drawn or tender nipple, swelling of the breast or its ulceration and often swelling of lymph nodes beneath the arm. Diagnosis involves examination of the breasts, an ultrasound or a mammogram and perhaps “needle aspiration cytology and/or core biopsy”.
Though the prevalence of breast cancer in gays has not been that common, their involvement in fighting breast cancer has been put into question especially at the “summer conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Health Association” where a group of gays had to discuss their involvement in breast cancer awareness. From the conference it came clear that gays are very supportive in raising money and volunteering in the fight against breast cancer. There have also been rare cases where gay movements donate proceeds towards plays that create awareness about breast cancer.
Gay men aren’t at significant risks of breast cancer; however the illness is closer to them as it affects their mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. After every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and lesbians as a group are at a higher risk. In this regards, gays can help in fighting breast cancer and also in increasing awareness in various ways that include learning the disease symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment. More knowledge of the cancer and its prevention is a major step towards supporting the ladies closer to them.
Another way of assisting the victims is by befriending them as they need our close relatives more than ever before. As they suffer it is not always the time to get busy with hobbies, work or even other things. Also in a bid to increase awareness, it is advisable to encourage the victims by example. The major factors that increase risks of the disease include obesity never have birthed a child, alcohol use or even smoking and by encouraging them to reduce the risk is and added advantage. Encouragement may be joining them to a gym, dieting with them, helping them to stop smoking or even reducing consumption of alcohol.
Another way of coming in handy is helping the manage because most of them are in no shape especially when affected by the disease and they will need help to battle bureaucracies in the hospitals, thoughtless nurses, insensitive doctors or even any other issues that may arise in the cause of treatment. By accompanying them to the doctor’s appointments, you help them reduce the load and in addition it is advisable to handle prescription issues for them. Finally it is advisable to be their advocate by raising monies in participating in breast cancer walks or even rides which are carried on in various dates throughout the year. By participating in the events or mobilizing friends to engage in the same so will be an encouragement to them.
Gays may have a higher risk of breast cancers as researchers have suggested that this is because of the discrimination they face in their everyday lives; hence turning to alcohol, smoking and other bodily abuse to “numb the pain”. Even as they result to such drug abuse they increase risks of having the disease. As a result the government authorities are encouraged to enhance the right of gays to avoid discrimination that leads to them living a life of drug abuse.
Even as it may appear rare among gays, in the few that it occurs, there has been stigma and it becomes an intricate issue to deal with. There were reported issues of even gays refusing to attend treatment because they feared the doctors who would have realized that they are gay. But with more rights to the gays as the laws change often, it has become evident that they are now exercising their rights except for a few regions where legislation is a bit strict.
It is even a rare realization in some regions, gay breast cancer is normally perceived with superstition as a punishment of their deeds and little or no health concern is directed to the individuals of the same sex. In such cases awareness is needed and as a result avoiding the little death that are witnessed among men who get the breast cancer. In addition, this being a disease of women a man with the same disease is also perceived to have defied creation and as a result no concern is given to them.
Finally, breast cancer isn’t that common in gays but they are required to create awareness of its occurrence among their counter parts i.e. the lesbians upon whom they form rights groups and awareness groups with.