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

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

COVID-19: Vernon Towne Cinema back in action!

Movie lovers rejoice, the historic theatre has reopened with safety protocols in place

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Liberals push NDP for fall school reopening plan

Local Liberal MLA says NDP government committed to plan being unveiled before Aug. 4

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Rescued hawk returned to Lumby skies

A rehabilitated Swainson’s hawk was returned to its Rawlings Lake habitat

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

Most Read