Social Communities: Male Breast Cancer Awareness

New Facebook page seeks to raise awareness for little known about problem

Our new series on social communities looks at topics that hardly anyone would know about… if it weren’t for the internet. Drop Kathryn a note if you have something you would like to share.   

In the UK around 350 men each year are diagnosed with breast cancer. This compares to 55,000 women. This is clearly an extremely rare form of cancer, yet like any form of this disease it is definitely worth knowing about, especially if you’re South African. Last year the Breast Health Foundation revealed the country had the highest rate in the world.

“A large amount of people have not heard of male breast cancer and only believe that females can be diagnosed,” says Yeshni Sookraj, Digital Marketing Practitioner at Accenture in South Africa, who lost her uncle to this at the start of July and has just launched a Facebook community to raise awareness. 

This page includes “content on detection, diagnosis and treatment which could potentially save the lives of those you love and care for the most,” she explains. “My uncle Anesh found out he had cancer after his GP discovered the lump on his breast and requested a biopsy. He was diagnosed in September 2012 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and went through aggressive chemo for almost a year and a half.”

Determined to alert others to the dangers she tells us: “I have started with a Facebook page for now but [also] want to start a website. For the moment I have [just] used my current contacts on LinkedIn and friends and relatives pages [on Facebook] to promote this. But I also will be doing Facebook advertising and I want to run an online awareness campaigns during [South African] breast cancer awareness month [in October].”

Sookraj describes her uncle’s stoicism until the end: “My aunt would make him a weak veg stew and we would feed him using a spoon or straw during the last two weeks as his throat became affected and he found it hard to swallow. He would watch soccer daily – he was a keen Liverpool supporter - and was eagerly awaiting the World Cup… but due to his illness could not watch most of the games.”

Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect