Laurie Rix lost her husband, Neil Macrae, in 2017 to breast cancer. (BC Cancer Foundation)

Breast Cancer Awarness Month: Men get breast cancer, too

According to BC Cancer Foundation, more than 200 men in Canada will be affected this year

Republished with permission from the BC Cancer Foundation

Laurie Rix lost her husband Neil Macrae in 2017 to breast cancer – a disease largely associated with women.

In 2015, the well-known Vancouver sportscaster noticed a lump inside his breast that was the size of a golf ball. After showing his wife, she suggested getting it looked at by a doctor.

The diagnosis shocked them both. Male breast cancer: A rare form that will affect more than 200 men in Canada this year.

“When he was diagnosed, it was Stage III, so he had to have a mastectomy followed by radiation,” said Laurie.

His oncologist at BC Cancer, Dr. Karen Gelmon, found through genetic analysis that Neil had the BRCA2 mutation. A gene widely known today as the “breast cancer gene,” it also puts men at higher risk for getting other cancers, like prostate, which Neil later developed.

Through this analysis, Neil’s oncologist was able to tailor a treatment plan based on his genetic mutation.

he would go on to face a third type of cancer before passing away in 2017 at age 65.

“Scientists at BC Cancer are working to identify mutations and risks earlier, with the hopes of preventing cancers like breast, for both women and men,” says Laurie. “Neil would want all men to know that they are at risk for this disease, too.”

READ MORE: BC Cancer Foundation raises record $63.7 million

The Rix family has a long history with BC Cancer and its world-renowned Genome Sciences Centre. In addition to losing her husband, Laurie also lost her father, Dr. Donald Rix, to tongue cancer in 2009.

Dr. Rix was the first-ever Personalized Onco-Genomics Program participant – “Patient X” – who helped fund the project and would become the first person in the world to have gene sequencing completed to analyze and inform cancer treatment.

His belief in the science of genetic sequencing and his advocacy for it to play a role in treatment initiated a tidal shift in the way cancer is being treated today.

His willingness to take part in the first study has led to the enrollment of more than 1,068 patients in the program to date and the publishing of 25 research papers.

The Rix Family Foundation generously supported the program at the foundation’s 2014 Inspiration Gala with a gift of $1.5 million, and in 2017, Laurie donated $500,000 to establish the Neil Macrae Hereditary Cancer Research Fund.

October is breast cancer awareness month. You can help change outcomes for women and men facing breast cancer in B.C. To learn more, contact Alyson Killam at akillam@bccancer.bc.ca or 604-877-6160.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in Smithers over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Man, 40, killed in hit and run in Fort St. James

One person is dead in a hit and run case that is… Continue reading

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

Most Read