(WBAY) – October is met with a flurry of pink ribbons, t-shirts, and banners, all hoping to bring awareness for breast cancer. But it can be easy to forget, men can get breast cancer too.
Mike Ashman went to the doctor two years ago, not sure what was going on.
“I noticed some bloody discharge out of my breast,” said Ashman, “and being a guy, you sort of disregard it, because, that’s not something that you would normally think of.”
After numerous tests, doctors determined it was breast cancer.
“It was more shocking than anything, I think,” said Ashman.
Statistically, more women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, than men. The American Cancer Society says about 200,000 women will be diagnosed in 2015, compared to around 2,000 men. But partially because of less awareness for men’s breast cancer, the risks may be higher.
Lisa Tuszka works in breast care at Prevea Health and says men’s reluctance to go to the doctor, leads to a later diagnosis, and could mean a more aggressive cancer.
“Men are typically diagnosed with larger tumors,” said Tuszka, “and with larger tumors you may have more involvement in the lymph nodes, and disease elsewhere.”
That’s why doctors say men need to check for abnormalities regularly and see a doctor if anything seems strange.
“Any abnormality, any lump, discharge, skin change,” said Tuszka, “a man should be seen by his primary care.”
Mike still sees his doctor every few months, and although he’s at stage zero, he’s remaining vigilant and says others should do the same.
“It’s a humanity disease, it’s not just a gender disease,” said Ashman.