Male breast cancer rare, but deadly

Survivor urges men to check their pecs

SOUTH FLORIDA – One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetimes. But breast cancer is not for women only. Male breast cancer is rare, but it can be deadly.

It's a fight that 67-year-old George Bradley never dreamed he'd be in. But in the last year, Bradley has had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. And he wears pink with pride.

The world of pink is different for a man," Bradley said. "I am the only man in the office, but i got used to it."

Dr. Carmen Calfa says many men think they can't get breast cancer, but every year in the U.S., more than 2,200 men are diagnosed with the disease.

"They are still in shock," Calfa said. "They have mastectomy, chemo, radiation, hormones -- just like a woman would."

The treatment is the same for men as it is for women. And so are the survival rates. The big difference is that men are diagnosed later because they just don't think it can happen to them.

Even though they had noticed a difference, they don't go to the doctor until later on and they tend to present with a later stage of the diagnosis.

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For Bradley, a hotel consultant, the diagnosis was a fluke.

"I was in the shower and my left hand hit my right breast and it felt like someone stabbed me," he said.

During a routine checkup, he told his doctor about the pain and and the doctor ordered a mammogram.

Results showed Bradley had three small tumors.

One year later, he is cancer-free.

"Life is good," he said. "I would say to me, check your pecs.

That will be the motto of the foundation he is starting for male breast cancer awareness. It's color will be periwinkle blue.

Doctors urge men to learn about the signs of breast cancer. Some of the risk factors for men include genetics, elevated levels of estrogen, obesity and alcohol use.

Doctors say it's important for me with breast cancer to have genetic testing. If they end up with what is called the BRCA gene mutation, there is a 50 percent chance that gene will be passed on to their children, both the girls and the boys.

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