Women's Health

Husband and Wife Battle Breast Cancer Together

Husband and Wife Battle Breast Cancer Together

Photo source: WPLG

A South Florida couple face the most difficult challenge of their marriage after both being diagnosed with breast cancer. Read on to learn more.

Breast cancer is not a disease that affects just women. In men, there is a small amount of breast tissue containing several ducts that reside just under the nipple in boys and men. It's actually the same tissue that young girls have before they hit puberty and the hormones stimulate these ducts to grow into fully developed breasts.

So men don't go through the pubertal stage of breast development that girls do. However, they still retain small amounts of breast tissue and ducts below their nipple. This is the tissue that can become cancerous. That's why men are still able to get breast cancer. However, breast cancer is less common in men not only because there is less tissue there to become cancerous, but also because there are lower levels of the female hormones that can exacerbate breast cancer development.

It is not something to be ignored

Compared to women, men are about 100 times less likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Surprisingly, the numbers that the American Cancer Society provides regarding male breast cancer aren’t as low as you might think. In the United States, it's estimated that there will be over 2,000 cases of invasive breast cancer in men in 2018. Worse yet, about 500 men will die from the disease. Though the rate is still very low, that's still hundreds of people affected by something that the public isn't really aware of.

What are the chances that a husband and wife both share the same type of cancer?

Male breast cancer is very rare, but imagine that a couple might find themselves both battling the same disease. That's what happened to a couple in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Susan and Stuart Wein are deeply in love and share many things in common. Unfortunately, they recently found out that they will soon be sharing an unwelcome challenge. The couple found out that they were both fighting breast cancer.

Stuart was 69 years old when he was first diagnosed with cancer. A small lump he felt three years ago led to the unexpected discovery. According to breast oncologist Dr. Thomas Samuel, the key to diagnosis is usually self-exam and knowing your own body.

Stuart saved his own life by listening to the changes in his body

That's how Stuart was able to save his own life. He knew something wasn't right about this strange lump, and he asked for help. Dr. Samuel notes that many men might not have been as careful as Stuart was because they just don't expect that they can get breast cancer too. He urges men to take note that this can happen to them and if they notice a puckering or lump around their breast area, to see a doctor immediately for a checkup.

Men actually have a physical advantage when it comes to having breast cancer. This is because a small tumor can easily be seen since they have such small amounts of natural breast tissue. However, it's the lack of awareness that is hurting men the most. Many times, an early diagnosis is missed simply because the men brushed it off and didn't go see a doctor about their lump.

Men have a good prognosis for breast cancer if diagnosed early

If diagnosed early, men have a pretty good chance of getting a good prognosis. The treatment for male breast cancer is the same as women, requiring surgery and radiation combined with hormonal therapies.

Just as Stuart was finishing up his cancer treatments, the couple found out that Susan had breast cancer too. For Susan, it wasn't as much a surprise. Her family had a history of breast cancer and she was always on top of getting regularly checked. But it was still a devastating blow to hear the news nonetheless.

Susan and Stuart aren't afraid to fight their cancers together

The couple share that they've been through a lot together over the past 2 decades. They often hear friends and family asking "are you going to be okay?" Susan always reassures everyone that they're okay. That they are going to fight this together just like everything else they've gone through over the years.

The couple's positive energy has helped them fight with success. Stuart and Susan both had early diagnosis of their breast cancer. Because of their support and care for one another, they are fighting together to beat cancer. They are stronger than ever.

Take initiative if you've been diagnosed with cancer

Stuart says that to beat cancer, you have to be proactive and take initiative. Keep pushing, and when you can't seem to push anymore, push more.

Stuart warns men that it's even more important that you listen to your body. If there's something wrong, don't ignore it. Many men choose to skip the doctor's either because they brush things off or they feel embarrassed. Don't do that. Always follow it up at your doctor's office! It's not worth the suffering and it's definitely not worth your life.