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

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

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Nechako River, Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Officials keeping close tabs on Nechako River after ice jam causes area flooding

District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen, though, said water levels have gone down, for now

Vanderhoof home sees water from the Nechako move up into the yard, and within hours, water was seen up to the deck. Ken Young, Vanderhoof councillor posted this photo on social media.
Mayor concerned about ice jams in the Nechako river

“We have never lived with a frozen river at this magnitude during our time in council,” mayor said.

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read