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To the editor:
Re: “Who’s Missing From Breast Cancer Trials? Men, Says the F.D.A.” Published September 9, 2019.
I was fourteen years old when the term ‘Breast Cancer’ was first introduced to me and my family. My aunt was forty-three years old and was battling the stage three terminal illness, and treatments were less than advanced. Today, over four years after her passing, I read Roni Caryn Rabin’s article, which discusses Breast Cancer treatments, and the lack thereof in male patients. Rabin begins her argument by informing readers that only one percent of all Breast Cancer patients are male, which makes the data pool for treatment and success rates difficult to find and compare to that of women. However, she argues, why are statistics about men with Breast Cancer, or the lack of treatment in men, such an issue? If women were once excluded from medicine, treatments and even research, why are men now being excluded from the same things?
While I understand Rabin’s argument, one thing sticks out in my mind while reading her article: Only one percent of all Breast Cancer patients are men. Finding men with the disease for treatment and research is difficult, even Rabin admits this: ““Many, many oncologists have never seen a case of breast cancer in a male patient,””. And so it is quite obvious why many doctors are unsure how to treat the men suffering with the terminal illness, or why research and statics are few and far between. Finding one percent of a population is like finding a needle in a haystack.
With that being said, it is also important to acknowledge the men who are not receiving proper treatment for their Breast Cancer, who are suffering without the help they need and deserve. Scientists and researchers need to acknowledge this population of men with the terminal illness, even if this population is a minority. I do stand by what I said, that Rabin should acknowledge how small the population of men with Breast Cancer is in the grand population of all people with the illness, and that she should consider that when wondering why there are nearly no statistics about these men or treatments for these men.