Buddy Check 3: Remember men can get breast cancer too

Four men tell their stories of discovering breast cancer and why they all waited to get treatment.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 5:18 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - While we usually focus on how to help women troubleshoot Breast Cancer, we’re turning the spotlight on the men we know who are surviving breast cancer today. Their stories could make more *men alert to their very real risk for the disease.

Great strides have been made in getting men to take time away from work, recreation, and even family to troubleshoot certain types of cancer, like prostate, testicular, and colon cancers. But breast cancer? Too many people still consider it “just a woman’s disease.”

And it’s understandable. Today about 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, and nearly 288,000 will be diagnosed this year. These survivors work to warn other women through events like this fashion show presented by the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. But this year, joining the many women on stage were 4 men on a mission as well.

Survivor, Bret Miller says men have breasts too, it’s diagnosed as breast cancer. It’s not a death sentence, and it’s not emasculating. Even though less than one percent of men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, 2,700 men in this country will get the disease this year. And this was a unique opportunity to get these four survivors together to talk about what they’ve been through with breast cancer. None of them had the advantage of early detection, even though they all had symptoms.

Bret Miller said: “I was 17, at home watching tv. Stretched, felt a lump, mentioned it to a doctor. He said it was calcium nothing to worry about. Seven years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Daniel Burton said: “I was 46, didn’t notice a lump in my chest, because I had one for my whole life, didn’t think anything about it. I noticed when a cyst popped out under my armpit...a lymph node blew up. I didn’t go (to the doctor) for a month until a second one blew up.”

Jeffrey Brown said: “I was 42-43 years old. I didn’t do anything about it for a few years before I was diagnosed.”

And Derrick Sutherlin said: “I was 42 or 43. I had a lump behind my left breast. I didn’t think much of it, it hurt me in front of my wife, she jokingly said I had breast cancer.”

Thankfully a friend of Derrick’s wife urged them to get Derrick checked out. Three weeks later, he was diagnosed with breast cancer. But none of these men were diagnosed early enough to avoid aggressive treatment. .

Daniel Burton: “Mine was metastatic...chemo, surgery, radiation, and immunotherapy.”

Their message is similar to what women have heard for years. Early detection is the best medicine.

Jeffrey Brown says, it’s real, we’re men. We have that ego, let it go. We’ll tell you right here that we did it and are survivors.

And after treatment, they all agree that support is paramount. Derrick Sutherlin urges other men not to be afraid and reach out to women. He says they can be a support group all their own, they’ve been dealing with it also. Derrick emphasizes breast cancer isn’t just a female or male problem but a human problem.

For more information on support groups for men and women contact the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. And if you haven’t signed up already, click here https://www.ky3.com/page/buddy-check-3/ and register, so that you and a buddy can remind each other every third of the month to do those self breast exams and follow the guidelines for regular clinical exams and mammograms.

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