Male Breast Cancer Survivor Strives to Bring Awareness to the Disease
By: Courtney Floyd
What is is like having male breast cancer?
Recently I had the privilege of speaking with a lovely couple whose lives’ have been impacted by breast cancer. This is their story:
A few years back, Michael had noticed a lump in his breast. Soon after, he went in for his regularly scheduled physical with his family doctor—but he never mentioned the lump. A few days after his appointment, Michael was called back to his doctor to discuss some abnormal blood work. It wasn’t until Michael’s doctor mentioned additional testing to determine the cause of the abnormal labs that he mentioned the unfamiliar lump in his breast. The doctor, who was familiar with Michael’s family history of breast cancer, expressed concern. He was immediately sent to a breast surgeon and underwent a biopsy. Ten days later he heard the dreaded words, “You have breast cancer.”
“I didn’t know how I could possibly have breast cancer? I had never even heard of male breast cancer,” Michael shares.
Luckily, Michael’s cancer was caught early and no radiation or chemotherapy was needed. But Michael now takes Tamoxifen. every day, and experiences many of the same adverse side effects women experience including low libido, anxiety, and skin rashes.
When Michael was diagnosed back in 2010 there was little information available to guide him and his wife Patty through this journey.
Today this is no longer the case! Thanks to Michael and Patty’s hearts and service, men who are diagnosed with breast cancer and their spouses can find comfort and a plethora of information through the Male Breast Cancer Coalition!
“The breast cancer community can be very segregated for men as most people do not know men can get breast cancer too,” says Michael. “Our hope is that through our efforts men and their families can be more educated and feel less isolated during their diagnosis.”
Michael’s wife Patty is also at the forefront of helping other spouses of men diagnosed with this rare disease. Her support and encouragement for her husband after diagnosis was detrimental to his journey.
“I do everything with him and support him in any way I can,” Patty says.
“I was embarrassed of my diagnosis at first, but with her support I was able to realize my calling to help other men like me. I could not have done any of this without her!” says Michael of his precious wife.
It is truly an honor to know Michael and Patty! Their dedication to spreading the word and educating and supporting others diagnosed with male breast cancer is truly inspiring and their hearts are irreplaceable.
If you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with male breast cancer, we encourage you to visit the Male Breast Cancer Coalition’s website!
Thank you Michael and Patty for sharing your story!