In February 2017, I had a sensation in the nipple of my left breast. Unaware that men got breast cancer, I just brushed it off not thinking it would be serious. Fast forward to April 2018, the same nipple is now three times the size of the right one, it was hard as a rock, and hypersensitive. I had a list of items I wanted to have checked since I had been looking for a new primary care doctor. I went in to see him for the first visit and gave him the list. He examines me for all the problems I brought in, making notes on his computer as he does. He asks me not to bring lists of problems, but to come see me as they happen to ensure proper care. He leans back, pointing at my chest and says, “I don’t like that.” He sent me to take a mammogram and an ultrasound within a couple of hours of seeing him. They found something, and he proceeded to get me seen for a biopsy the same day.
Five days later I was back in my doctor’s office. His nurse did not come to get me, and neither did his medical assistant. He came to the lobby and took me back to a room. He asked me “has anyone talked to you?” I replied “No.” He said, “that is good and bad. Good that they listened to me, bad that I have to be the one to tell you that you have breast cancer.” He continued, “I do not know any of the numbers, nor do I want to know them. It is my job to find the problem and get you into the right hands.” He and his team had already made appointments for me for both an oncologist and a surgeon.
My first surgery (radical mastectomy) was one day short of three weeks from my initial visit and testing. The cancer was in my left breast and two of the lymph nodes. They initially had me at Stage 3 but downgraded it to Stage 2B after the surgery. They got it all out. To be safe, they still had me go through four doses of chemotherapy and 30 doses of radiation.
While going through all of this, I started asking questions about my right side. I was told it would not go contralateral, but also, there was not enough data for men to give me a true percentage. They said if they had to guess based on my circumstances, they would put me in the low to mid 30’s. I had the right breast voluntarily removed to lower my chances. I waited for 14 months to see a doctor. It caused me more problems than if I had sought treatment sooner. My advice to anyone is, if something does not feel right, do not wait to get it checked out. It could be lifesaving.