Michael Gallerani

I am a Male Breast Cancer survivor who has made the five-year survival mark cancer free. I am thankful for my doctors, the staff at Beth Israel Deaconess – Plymouth (MA) and BID Needham, my family, friends, and fellow cancer survivors.

My reaction to finding a lump is probably common. I mentioned it to my doctor, laughed off his telling me to have a mammogram, and found myself telling him about “the lump” at my next appointment six months later. At that point he gave me no choice. Fast forward after the mammogram and biopsy, he calls me on a Friday evening, not to tell me to have a good weekend, but with one word cancer. Needless to say, I did not laugh him off. I saw the surgeon, went in for the surgery and was home a few hours later.

As a sidebar story, my wife and I stayed at a hotel the night before my surgery so to avoid traffic and being late for my early morning appointment. When we came out that morning I found a Saint Anthony medal on my seat. My wife said she did not put it there. My deceased mother and grandmother both prayed to Saint Anthony every day. I knew when I found the medal that I was going to be OK.

Along with others who have experienced Male Breast Cancer, I urge all men to check themselves and to have a discussion with their doctor. It is also important that service providers to be more open and welcoming towards men.

Statistically, 1 in 726 men experience breast cancer. Personally, I believe that the numbers are different. We, as men, are told to “play through the pain”, so a lump in our chest area can be easily ignored. Gone unchecked, those cancer cells travel. So, in the end, it is no longer a man with breast cancer, but someone with liver, brain, lung, pancreatic or other life-threatening cancer. The statistic is then something other than Male Breast Cancer.

The truth is the fix is much easier if caught early as breast cancer. Men should check themselves, have the conversation, and do something if they find a lump or abnormality.

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