Charity Cake Bake - Fundraising Success!

Well firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to those at the Lanyon Bowdler Ludlow office who dug deep into their pockets and raised a fantastic £60 by eating my home made cakes on 16th December.  I have now added that to my running total of donations which at the moment stands at £135.00.  My target is £500.  If I can take the stress, I hope to have another cake bake in early spring!!
Walk the Walk uses the money they raise in different ways to help those with cancer by trying to make their lives more bearable if that's possible.  Hair loss due to chemotherapy affects different people in some surprisingly different ways. For some women with breast cancer, losing their crowning glory is one of the most horrifying aspects of the disease – worse, even, than the surgical removal of a breast. Other women view hair loss as a minor consideration in relation to all the other traumas that need to be faced following a breast cancer diagnosis. Some organize head-shaving parties before their chemo even starts, saying it gives them a sense of empowerment at a time when their lives seem out of control.  

There’s been some degree of success with what’s known as the cold cap, or ice cap, which can help prevent total hair loss if used at the time chemo is administered. It works by cooling the cells of the hair root and restricting the flow of blood to them so these cells are less likely to be affected by the toxic drugs.

But it doesn’t work for all patients and some say the unpleasantness of the ice-cold cap on their scalps is worse than any other aspect of their chemo. Use of the cap also has the drawback of prolonging your stay in hospital (normally by at least a couple of hours). 

As I mentioned in my last blog, my father had breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Taking part in this Moonwalk has made me think about the lack of awareness of breast cancer in men and I wish to highlight this as part of my fund raising efforts. 

Breast cancer in men is something most people have never even heard of. The reason why men have breasts in the first place is a mystery to most of us and the fact that they can contract a disease commonly viewed as strictly for women comes as something of a shock.

But breast cancer can and does occur in men. It’s relatively rare (only about one per cent of cases involve men) and the widespread ignorance about it makes it particularly dangerous. As most men and their wives or girlfriends don’t even know the disease exists, male breast cancer is likely to go undetected in its early stages. After all, self-examination, routine mammography and investigative lumpectomy are not familiar terms for your average male.

This means men are far more likely to ignore symptoms than women and many go for months or even years without seeking medical advice. And what’s even more alarming is that many members of the medical profession lack sufficient knowledge of the disease and fail to order the relevant tests when a male patient first complains of breast abnormalities.

Added to this frightening level of ignorance is the perception amongst men that breast cancer is a “woman’s thing” and that there’s something rather unmanly about a male contracting a disease associated with pink ribbons. All of which makes it more likely that a man will fail to seek advice in the early stages.

But it’s a fact that the number of male cases has risen sharply in recent years and hundreds of men die each year from the disease simply because of a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

As with women, the survival rate among men is extremely good if the disease is detected and treated early enough. That’s why it’s so important to spread the word – men need to know they can contract this disease, they need to overcome any embarrassment they may feel about it and they need to know what the symptoms are.

The most common symptoms include a lump beneath the nipple (usually painless), a discharge from the nipple (sometimes bloody) or an inversion of the nipple. Redness or puckering of the skin around the nipple and breast area are other signs to look out for. The important thing is to be aware of your own body and if you’re at all worried about any abnormality seek immediate medical advice. Treatment options are much the same as they are for women. Most cancerous lumps are removed by surgery which may be followed by one or more therapies- chemotherapy radiation or hormone therapy - depending on the stage and aggressiveness of the cancer. My father survived all of this AND bowel cancer.

Risk factors associated with male breast cancer include:

Age - the average age for men to contract the disease is 65. Family history - men with one or more close female or male relatives who have suffered from the disease are at higher risk. Obesity - some studies have linked breast cancer in men to obesity. Fat tissue produces the female sex hormone oestrogen (estrogen) which in turn can feed cancer cells. Of course in my family's case - it's genetic.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.