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Man With Breast Cancer Says, “Don’t Be Embarrassed…It’s Too Important”

Man With Breast Cancer Says, “Don’t Be Embarrassed…It’s Too Important”
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Somewhere in the back of his mind, 77 year-old Donald knew that men could get breast cancer. He remembered the sad case of a local man in his early 50s who succumbed to the disease after it spread to vital organs.

On vacation earlier this year, he noticed a hardness in his left breast while showering. His wife, Virginia, thought the nipple appeared inverted and a darker color than unusual. Donald readily admits that without his wife’s observation and insistence that they cut their vacation short, he likely would have procrastinated and delayed seeing a doctor.

How does it feel to be a man with breast cancer?
A few tests and several weeks later, the shocking diagnosis of breast cancer became reality. Cancer is cancer and it’s never a welcome diagnosis. But how does it feel to be a man with breast cancer? Donald says, “Initially, I wanted to tell people I had a ‘chest cancer’ or a ‘breast tumor.’ However, we decided to ‘tell it like it is’ largely out of respect to our deceased young man. I do sort of joke about having a ‘woman’s disease,’ but responses are very supportive.”

Donald hopes that his openness will help other men to realize that they can get breast cancer, too, and he encourages men to promptly check out any suspicions. He suggests that men seek references from others, most likely women, who have had breast cancer and can refer them to specialists and support.

“Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed, it’s too important to you and your loved ones to delay treatment,” he cautions.

As for Donald and Virginia, the word “cancer” still elicits a certain amount of fear, but they are very optimistic about his prognosis. He is still undergoing chemotherapy and has yet to begin radiation treatment. The St. Louis Cancer and Breast Institute doctors and staff, along with community religious groups provide support and encouragement for which he is very grateful. He hasn’t actually felt the need to join a support group, but says that may come later.

Rare, but Not Unimportant
Breast cancer in women is about 100 times more common than in men, says surgical oncologist Dr. Diane Radford, who specializes in breast cancer and breast diseases. “There are just under 2,000 new cases of breast cancer in men in the U.S. per year, and just under 400 deaths. To put in perspective almost 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year.”

Because male breast cancer is not a common occurrence, many people don’t even realize men can get breast cancer. When men do find a lump or something unusual on their chest, they generally don’t think of cancer and put off going to the doctor. That’s a big mistake because, as Dr. Radford explains, “Stage for stage cure rates for male breast cancer are similar to females, however, males are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced stage and with lymph node involvement.”

As with women, she says, any symptoms or signs need to be evaluated. The vast majority of breast cancers in men are of the ductal type.

Next: Signs & Symptoms / Risk Factors / Treatment / Research / Takeaways

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47 comments

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7:31AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

MarilynNoFwdsD. is right. Alternative treatments work as SUPPLEMENTS to traditional treatments.

7:29AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

>>It is irresponsible for anyone (Christa L) to recommend reading books on alternative treatments when they have already been diagnosed with cancer!

4:46AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Thank you Debra M. for I have weak inter net connections. But I will take your advice. Bear Hug!

10:41PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Sorry, that was meant to be "macho", typed it wrong.

10:40PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Never mind the "I'm a man I can hack it mucho bs" mentality, seek medical attention. Thanks.

10:34PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STORY! Breast cancer happens to MEN TOO!PLease don't WASTE TIME hoping your vegan diet, your religion OR the advice from your neighbor's cousin will CURE YOUR CANCER! GO INSTANTLY TO your Doctor. THEN if HE says it's nothing SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR.Twelve years ago, my husband,age 67, found a lump under the skin in the middle of his back. He had been in the shower and said it just "felt odd'. It was invisable but when I ran my hand across the area it felt like a small cough drop onder the skin. We went the next day to his primary physician who happened to be a CARDIOLOGIST. They said it was NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT-------"JUST A FATTY TUMOR". Three weeks later he had his annual physical which he passed with flying colors. By Three weeks after THAT "Nothing to worry about" was about the size of a plum and showed under his tee-shirt at the fitness center where we worked out three times a week. By NOW I AM WORRYING --ALOT. I made an appointment for a second opinion. THAT Doctor made an appointment for us to see an ONCOLOGIST in three days. He had a full body MRI and had CANCER EVERYWHERE. He began hospice the NEXT DAY. They did a beautiful job of keeping him relatively comfortable but he DIED THREE WEEKS LATER. PLEASE , RUN DON'T WALK TO THE DOCTOR IF YOU FIND A LUMP!! THEN SEE A SECOND DOCTOR!!

6:29PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Well to explain my weir last comment - for some reason, there were other comments on this article last time I read it! Care2 must've had a little glitch in the Matrix.

I have heard of people healing their cancer with raw food diet - and in fact went on it myself in order to heal chronic Candida that went into leukemia (they are finding that cancer IS candida) and the raw food diet nearly killed me - it did not heal.

I am now on an all meat and fat diet, with mostly fermented vegetables, and my blood counts go up considerably every time I visit the doctor. Eating meat and saturated fat has saved my life, and I do believe raw food kills.

Viktoras Kulvinskas who was with Anne Wigmore (listed in the below books) in researching raw food - his wife died of stomach cancer in her early 50's - not a good advertisement for raw food healing cancer.

Christa, I am glad a raw food diet has worked for you, but more and more it is showing to be a nutritionally deficient diet with serious dangers to the nervous system, to teeth and to overall energy and health. I would NOT recommend a raw food diet - although there are a handful of people who do heal cancer with it - so perhaps it is a temporary remedy for some people. I just know that it almost killed me.

3:22PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Where in the heck is this video y'all keep referring to? I have gone through all three pages, clicked on all of the links, and the only video is of a man talking about research into breast cancer for men - no dancing. Where is it?

6:29AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

In regard to Christa's comment......
Reading the books is a good thing to do, as is cleaning up your diet and lifestyle and using positive visualization...BUT.....and this is a HUGE BUT...
...even Dr Weil says to go to a specialist and to use the natural alternative methods ALONG WITH conventional therapies and NEVER to rely on them ALONE!

That should have been made very clear and was not!

5:34AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I have gynoecomastia (enlarged breasts) and have twice been tested for breast cancer. It's not fun. Even the medical staff does a double take since it's so rare to see a man getting a mammogram, but it HAS TO BE DONE.

Don't let pride get in the way of your health and life. If you find a lump, get it tested. It's not that bad.

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