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Men Can Wear Pink Too

It all began with a pink ribbon and the next thing I knew we swapped out the shoelaces in my daughter’s sneakers for new shoelaces decorated with more pink ribbons, we purchased a pink blessing for breast cancer bracelet and now I find myself bringing home every edible pink item from the grocery store even though I do not eat artificial colors, so I usually throw them out after a couple of days. I have come to refer to October as Pinktober and my wardrobe, instead of the rich fall hues of red, green and brown, is a bit softer, adorned with baby doll pink, peachy pink, raspberry pink, and ok I admit it, I have pink shoes. (Sadly, they are not Manolo Blahnik’s, merely a discounted designer brand from Marshall’s, but, oh, the pink is spectacular!) The point is, I have a lot of pink, and I fully support creating awareness for a disease that haunts too many women and terrifies the families who love them. There is pink everywhere in our home, however the person I really want to wear pink is my husband Michael, because after all, it is, his badge of honor.

Statistically breast cancer in a male is rare however the BRCA2 mutation increased the likelihood of the lump in Michael’s breast testing positive for cancer. Nevertheless when the doctor conveyed the biopsy results it was incredibly hard for me to believe. I mean seriously, I am the woman. I am the one feeling my breasts in the shower for any changes and holding my breath after every mammogram for results because it feels like everyone I know and love is getting diagnosed so I imagine it will be my turn soon. And, at the end of the day, let’s face it; I am the one with the breasts, at least in theory. The truth of the matter is men do get breast cancer and although it may not be common, certain risk factors increase the odds of diagnosis. Most notably, are the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and a family history of the disease. Sadly, too many women in Michael’s family have suffered from this disease and too many children have grown up without their mothers. Even with this realization, the lump in Michael’s breast went undiagnosed for many months. The physician Michael initially went to visit to check out the lump did not wear pink, not a smidgeon of pink anywhere, and he was sure it was benign. A few months later, again bothered by the lump, Michael met another doctor, and the next afternoon an ultrasound and biopsy were performed. I remember sitting in the office, nervous and fidgety, my eyes darting around for any type of distraction and then I noticed the shoes……bright magenta pink.

Creating awareness of breast cancer is a significant part of the mission of pink and there are numerous organizations doing a great job promoting this platform. However like any great job we can still do better and the missing “pink”, as I like to say, is the collective voice of all the men silently suffering from this disease. Including men in the universal message of breast cancer prevention is imperative for the early detection and successful treatment of our fathers, sons, brothers and friends. After all, men can wear pink too. By the way, this afternoon I bought Michael a pink oxford. He loves it. However I will forgo the shoes, I know I do not have a chance.

by Marci Moreau

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