Jale Shares His Breast Cancer Story

A 54-year-old man from Noco in Rewa is one five males recorded to have breast cancer in Fiji. Thanks to the Fiji Cancer Society support system, Eparama Jale is one
09 Oct 2017 11:00
Jale Shares His Breast Cancer Story
Eparama Jale. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu

A 54-year-old man from Noco in Rewa is one five males recorded to have breast cancer in Fiji.

Thanks to the Fiji Cancer Society support system, Eparama Jale is one of the two surviving victims. The other three have succumbed to the incurable disease.

Mr Jale, sat quietly at the Fiji Cancer Society Headquarters in Suva lost and confused with lots of questions in his mind. You can’t blame him.

It started two years ago when he began to feel pain on his left breast.

“It is just not normal for a man to have this type of pain on his breast. I decided to visit the hospital as soon as I realised that my left breast was getting bigger,” Mr Jale said.

“I felt my breast growing, it was swollen and painful. When I visited the hospital, I went through a lot of checking and the doctor made the diagnosis. It was not news I wanted to hear,” he said.

“The doctor’s confirmation shocked me. I did not know how I was going to relate to my family that I had being diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Mr Jale is not married, nor does he have children. He is un­employed and resides in Laqere, Suva, with his other seven siblings. He is the eldest in his family.

Not wanting to talk much about his family, he said his sib­lings had been supportive towards every treatment he has had so far.

He frequently visits the Fiji Cancer Society office undergo­ing chemotherapy.

Globally breast cancer in men is a rare disease.

Less than one per cent of all breast cancers occur in men. In 2017, about 2470 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in the world. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 1000.

What is breast cancer?

A breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that may grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.

Breast cancer occurs mainly in women, but men can get it, too. Many people do not realise that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer.

How is breast cancer in men classified?

After you have a surgery, the samples of breast tissue are looked at in the lab to determine whether breast cancer is present and if so, what type it is.

Certain lab tests may be done that can help determine how quickly a cancer is likely to grow and (to some extent) what treatments are likely to be effective. Sometimes these tests aren’t done until either breast-conserving surgery or mas­tectomy.

If a benign condition is diagnosed, you will need no further treatment. Still, it is important to find out from your doctor if you need special follow-up.

If the diagnosis is cancer, there should be time for you to learn about the disease and to discuss treatment options with your cancer care team, friends, and family. It is usually not necessary to rush into treatment.

You might want to get a second opinion before deciding what treatment is best for you. Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola


Eparama Jale. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu

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