By: Jamie Reaser
The morning of November 5, 2014, my surgeon gave me the news that I had breast cancer. BREAST CANCER! How could I have breast cancer? I’m a 65 year old male. I can’t have breast cancer. I’m a man with breast cancer? This just can’t be.
Back in early May of 2014, I found a lump underneath my left nipple. After a mammogram, the diagnosis was a non-cancerous mass. It was just pea-sized. Probably just a cyst.
In October, I started to notice that my nipple had flattened and the lump had gotten larger so I went back to the doctor. The visit progressed from a mammography to a biopsy. The results didn’t come back for a week.
I didn’t hear hardly anything after the surgeon said those terrifying four words: “You have breast cancer.”
Once I was outside of the clinic and in my car, the tears started flowing. I called Glenn (my partner) and told him the bad news. Just hearing him say “we will get through this” helped to calm me. Glenn was truly my rock. My wonderful coworkers greeted me with lots of hugs when I went into work that day.
At my first appointment with my oncologist, I was given the choice between two methods of treatment. I could have surgery first and then chemo, or the chemo first to shrink the tumor. I decided to go with the chemo first. But before that, I had surgery to implant a port to make it easier to administer the chemo and the many, many blood draws.
I was very lucky to have minimal adverse reactions to the first round of chemo. The 1st round consisted of 4 treatments 3 weeks apart. Once that was done I was to have 12 more treatments a week apart. I only lasted through 2 treatments in the 2nd part. I already suffered from neuropathy in my feet due to 25 years as a diabetic and the new rounds of chemo exasperated it so I decided to stop it.
I wouldn’t have made it through all of this if it were not for my partner of 40 years, Glenn, and all of my coworkers in the accounting department at Riata Ford.
The surgery on May 29, 2015 went smoothly and Dr. Brown was able to remove all of the cancer and I am “cancer free”.
Breast Cancer Among Men
About one percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. occur in men. Since men have breast tissue, they can get breast cancer. The warning signs for breast cancer in men are the same that women get. Change in the size or shape of the breast, lump thickening in the breast, chest or underarm area, or dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin of the breast. Treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to treatment for women: surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Survival is highest when breast cancer is found early. If you notice any of the warning signs or other changes in your breast, chest or nipple, see a doctor right away.