Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week is marked for the first time in New Jersey this year, thanks to the efforts of Alexis Ritter Gubbay and Cheri Ambrose. Governor Chris Christie has proclaimed October 21 through October 27, 2012 as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
"Finally, some blue coming through," says Gubbay, who, with Ambrose, established The Blue Wave. Gubbay, who has lived in both South Orange and Maplewood, hopes to raise awareness of breast cancer in men through the organizations. Gubbay's husband, Judah, died of the disease in 2007. He was aware of a lump a year and a half before his eventual diagnosis, but neither he,the physician he spoke, nor an immediate family member in the medical profession considered the possibility of breast cancer.
Now Gubbay has a message for men. "Check your pecs," she says. Why? "Pink or blue, men get breast cancer too," she explains.
In fact, she says, "Male breast cancer is rare, accounting for less than one percent of all breast cancers. Due to this, and the fact that breast cancer has been branded a woman’s disease (with pink-only ribbons), men with the disease are often undiagnosed and their cancer is not detected until it has progressed to a later stage."
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, about 2,190 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed and that it will be the cause of approximately 410 deaths. This rate grows annually.
Gubbay and Ambrose will mark the week with walks and fundraising, but they note that support for The Blue Wave take many forms. The two women suggest the following:
1. Join The Blue Wave at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, October 21. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Mack-Cali Business Campus, 1 Campus Drive, Parsippany. Full details on The Blue Wave event page.
2. Wear Blue. Even if you can’t attend the walk, wear blue to show your support for Male Breast Cancer Awareness on October 21.
3. Tell ten people that men get breast cancer, too. Use old-fashioned word-of-mouth or share the message in your social media network.
4. Visit www.TheBlueWave.org online to learn more about male breast cancer. You can find out how to make a donation to fund important medical research, too.
5. Stay current on the latest research and facts about male breast cancer. Like The Blue Wave on Facebook: http://www.TheBlueWaveMBC and follow The Blue Wave on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheBlueWaveMBC. You can also stay up-to-date via email - send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
6. Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week is currently recognized in four states – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Massachusetts. Contact your state representatives and urge them to recognize this important week as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
7. If you are a guy, give yourself a breast exam or ask your doctor to perform one the next time you have an appointment. It’s just a few minutes, and it could save your life.