WBEZ | cancer treatment http://www.wbez.org/tags/cancer-treatment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en When Men Get Breast Cancer, They Enter a World of Pink http://www.wbez.org/news/when-men-get-breast-cancer-they-enter-world-pink-114761 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/breastMariaFabizioNPR.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At 46 years old, Oliver Bogler&#39;s reaction to a suspicious lump in his chest might seem typical for a man. He ignored it for three to four months, maybe longer. &quot;I couldn&#39;t really imagine I would have this disease,&quot; Bogler says. But when he finally &quot;grew up&quot; and went to the doctor, he was pretty quickly diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.</p><p>Now what&#39;s interesting here is that&nbsp;<a href="http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Oliver_Bogler/Default.asp?SNID=0">Bogler</a>&nbsp;is a cancer biologist who regularly works with cancer cells, as senior vice president of academic affairs at the University of Texas&nbsp;<a href="https://www.mdanderson.org/">MD Anderson Cancer Center</a>&nbsp;in Houston. Even so, he figured the lump was a benign swelling of breast tissue.</p><p>And he had good reason to think so. Breast cancer is rare among&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancerinmen/detailedguide/breast-cancer-in-men-what-is-breast-cancer-in-men">men</a>. Only 1 percent of all breast cancer cases are in men. Still, that means about 2,600 men receive a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancerinmen/detailedguide/breast-cancer-in-men-key-statistics">diagnosis</a>&nbsp;of breast cancer every year.</p><p>But men typically don&#39;t think they are at risk, says&nbsp;<a href="http://faculty.mdanderson.org/Sharon_Giordano/Default.asp?SNID=0">Dr. Sharon Giordano</a>, an oncologist who also works at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. &quot;Men don&#39;t think of themselves as having breasts,&quot; Giordano says. &quot;They don&#39;t realize that all men have some residual breast tissue.&quot; So it&#39;s not unusual to see male patients like Bogler who come to her with more advanced breast cancer than the typical female patient.</p><p>This could be one reason why men have a lower life expectancy after a breast cancer diagnosis. According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Gender+Differences+in+Breast+Cancer%3A+Analysis+of+13%2C000+Male+Breast+Cancers+from+the+National+Cancer+Data+Base">study</a>&nbsp;published in 2012, in the&nbsp;</p><p>And men not only can get breast cancer, they can also inherit the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet">BRCA1</a>&nbsp;and 2 genetic mutations which places them at greater risk. Like women, they can pass that mutation on to their children, who have a 50 percent chance of inheriting a parent&#39;s mutation.</p><p>Once men are diagnosed their treatment is pretty much the same as it is for women &mdash; typically surgery to remove the cancer followed by chemotherapy, radiation and hormone suppressing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/breast-hormone-therapy-fact-sheet">medication</a>&nbsp;like tamoxifen.</p><p>That was the case for Bogler, but with one big difference &mdash; he had a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mastectomy/basics/definition/PRC-20012749">mastectomy</a>. Most women choose&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/lumpectomy/basics/definition/PRC-20012706">lumpectomies</a>&nbsp;followed by radiation. This is often not an option for men, Giordano says, because their tumors are most commonly right behind the nipple where there&#39;s not a lot of breast tissue to remove.</p><div id="res465707303" previewtitle="The markings on Oliver Bogler's chest are used to guide radiation therapy."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The markings on Oliver Bogler's chest are used to guide radiation therapy." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/05/oliver_custom-2ec04e04e42e4f9ba628100a3eed81402625f4da-s800-c85.jpeg" style="height: 458px; width: 620px;" title="The markings on Oliver Bogler's chest are used to guide radiation therapy. (Courtesy of David Jay Photography)" /></div><div><div><p>Unlike women, most men don&#39;t have reconstructive surgery. That&#39;s probably because they don&#39;t even know it&#39;s an option, says Giordano. A lot of male patients would probably be interested in having nipple reconstructive surgery, Giordano says, &quot;So when they are out swimming, or playing basketball and have their shirt off, the surgical changes aren&#39;t quite so obvious.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>And because breast cancer is so much more common among women, men with the disease can experience something of a &#39;gender misfit.&#39; Bogler wrote about his experience in a personal blog he called&nbsp;<em><a href="http://malebreastcancerblog.org/">Entering a World of Pink</a>.</em></p><p>When Edward Smith was diagnosed about four years ago, he went online to look for information and emotional support. The first couple of chat rooms he joined were not helpful, he says, when the participants found out he was a man. &quot;They weren&#39;t outright nasty or anything, but you could just feel that they were pulling back in terms of the conversation that was going on at the time,&quot; he says.</p><p>Eventually Smith found a site that was welcoming &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lbbc.org/">Living Beyond Breast Cancer</a>. The women in this group were helpful, compassionate and willing to talk, Smith says. This was important because he was feeling a bit uncomfortable at work. Colleagues were just &quot;stupefied&quot; he says, &quot;because most people have never encountered a male who had breast cancer.&quot;</p><p>The website recently published a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lbbc.org/infocusmen">guide</a>&nbsp;for men. which Smith found particularly helpful. The medical information isn&#39;t so different from women, says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lbbc.org/about/about-us/senior-leadership/jean-sachs-mss-mlsp">Jean Sachs</a>, executive director of Living Beyond Breast Cancer</p><p>It&#39;s also important, Sachs says, for men who test positive for the BRACA genetic mutations to understand that they can pass those mutations on to their children, which may encourage newly diagnosed patients to get tested.</p><p>The lack of awareness, even among doctors, oncologist Giordano says, means less money for needed research to figure out how breast cancer in men differs from women especially when it comes to life-saving treatment. Treatments for men are based on evidence from research trials with women. Giordano&#39;s now heading up research to better understand the biology of the disease in men and to try to figure out the most effective hormone therapy for men with breast cancer.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/08/465578231/when-men-get-breast-cancer-they-enter-a-world-of-pink?ft=nprml&amp;f=465578231"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/when-men-get-breast-cancer-they-enter-world-pink-114761 As cancer treatments advance, so do costs http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-06/cancer-treatments-advance-so-do-costs-87527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/cancercare.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At a big cancer meeting in Chicago right now there's a lot of talk about progress in cancer treatment, including experimental new drugs for <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1104621?query=featured_home">skin cancer</a> and <a href="http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-crizotinib-lung-cancer-06052011,0,6068440.story?track=rss">lung cancer</a>.</p><p>More and more often the medicines being developed to <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432304576367802580935000.html?mod=googlenews_wsj">treat cancer act narrowly</a> — on very specific types of cancer linked to specific genetic mutations. The drugs tend to be of most help to a relatively small group of patients, and that combination means prices for the treatments can be very high.</p><p>So it seems fitting that the steep cost of cancer care is also getting a look at the American Society of Clinical Oncology <a href="http://chicago2011.asco.org/ASCODailyNews.aspx">conference</a>. And some of the findings are pretty sobering.</p><p></p><p>Take, for instance, a look at the financial prognosis for cancer patients in the state of Washington. Researchers linked databases on newly diagnosed cancer and court records to figure out the risk of bankruptcy for cancer patients. Among the more than 230,000 people in the cancer database, <a href="http://abstract.asco.org/AbstView_102_82633.html">they found</a> that about 4,800 had filed for bankruptcy during a follow-up period that averaged a little more than four years.</p><p>Overall, the bankruptcy rate was 2.1 percent for the cancer patients. But the risk of bankruptcy varied by cancer and was highest for those with malignancies of the lung, thyroid, and also leukemia and lymphoma. The risk of bankruptcy was much lower for people age 65 and up, who would be eligible for Medicare.</p><p>Costs of cancer care in the U.S. hit $124.6 billion in 2010 and are expected to surpass $158 billion in 2020, the National Cancer Institute <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/pressreleases/2011/CostCancer2020">found in an analysis</a> earlier this year. Check NCI's site <a href="http://costprojections.cancer.gov/graph.php">here</a> for the costs of care for specific cancers.</p><p>Even people with health insurance struggle with the bills. A study from <a href="http://abstract.asco.org/AbstView_102_77396.html">Duke and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute</a> found that out-of-pocket drug copayments and other costs of care not picked up by insurance caused patients to scrimp.</p><p>To cope with those costs, more than half the people spent less on food and clothing. Nearly half used all or part of their savings, and almost one-third didn't fill prescriptions. "People still couldn't afford groceries and were spending life savings on cancer care," Duke's Dr. Yousuf Zafar <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/06/us-cancer-economics-idUSTRE7551YF20110606">told Reuters</a>. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Mon, 06 Jun 2011 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-06/cancer-treatments-advance-so-do-costs-87527