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

Just Posted

Social distancing for wildlife, please

Outdoor photographers urge humans not to get too close to local wildlife.

RCMP and COVID-19 orders

Weekly Columbia Valley RCMP report

DTSS calls for self-isolation yearbook photo submissions

DTSS seeking photos of students doing their favourite self-isolation activities

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Blasting through the West Kootenay

80 years ago; ‘Pretty near all the people from Fruitvale were working on it’

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

Most Read