Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little Shaft

(ok, stop giggling, this is serious!!)

Richard Roundtree played the iconic 1971 character ‘Shaft’, one of the most memorable movies of the mid-1970’s! Over 20 years later (1993), he would be diagnosed with breast cancer.

He had actually found the lump while filming a movie in Costa Rica. Luckily, Roundtree admits that because he is a bit of a hypochondriac, he got it checked out once returning to the US. This would ultimately save his life!

Still, despite what was a trying and difficult fight and recovery, for years after his diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, Roundtree kept quiet about his status as a cancer survivor. However, while at a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for a mobile breast cancer diagnostic unit, he opened up about his fight against the disease. "I just got up and told everybody that I was a breast cancer survivor. The room was totally silent. I think it dawned on people that men can be affected by this, too."

Male breast cancer comprises only 1 percent of all breast cancer cases -- not a surprising figure, since men's bodies contain only about 1 percent of the breast tissue found in women.

In 2007, there were estimated to be about 2,000 men diagnosed with breast cancer, compared with 178,000 women newly identified with the disease. Breast cancer in men most commonly appears as a lump, like the one Roundtree found in his left breast.

Roundtree, now in his late 60’s – still active and successful in acting – spends part of his time traveling around the country and speaking to different groups about his experience. "Not talking about my cancer was really tough," he says. "And now that I do talk about it all the time, it's really become a backhanded blessing. I was getting on a plane recently and a flight attendant ran up to me and said 'You saved my husband's life.'" Her husband had a lump in his chest and only agreed to get it checked out after she showed him an article about Roundtree.

IMPORTANT: studies have shown that men whose female relatives test positive for cancer-causing gene mutations are at higher risk for cancer, but often don't know it. So guys, get your girls to get checked and girls, help return the favor!!

For more, please see this very good article or other inputs about Roundtree’s successful fight.

Font based on the movie’s posters, drawn with Paint and PowerPoint!

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