Code Pink Alert for Men: You Can Get Breast Cancer, Too
Posted October 22, 2007 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated October 22, 2007 11:49 p.m. EDT
Code Pink: The phrase arouses awareness of breast cancer for women. And it should ring warning bells for men, too, doctors warn.
Men make up 1 percent of those diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and doctors think it may be more common among men than most think.
"Obviously, men don't think about doing a breast exam like women do, so it goes largely unnoticed until somebody says, 'That just doesn't look right,'" oncologist Dr. Nikta Shah said.
Brian Cole said he learned that breast cancer is not just a women's disease four years ago.
"I noticed some drainage out of my left nipple. My wife noticed it when she took out my shirts to do the laundry," he said.
Cole went to the doctor, had a biopsy done and was stunned at the results.
"I felt like, 'You've got to be kidding me. I'm a male. I've never heard anything like this before. It can't be breast cancer,'" he said.
Doctors removed much of Cole's breast tissue on his left side. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, just as a woman diagnosed with breast cancer would.
Shah said early detection through self exams is just as important for men as it is for women. For both sexes, information is one of the best weapons against breast cancer.
"If you feel something in your breast, it needs to be looked at, because it's not normal. Breast cancer does happen," Shah warned.