Most men know that when they head to the doctor's office for a check-up, they'll be screened for prostate cancer. The tests are routine. Now, some men are getting routine breast exams to check for breast cancer.
I was taking a shower and I noticed a lump in my breast, and at the time I really didn't worry about it, said Craig McMillan, breast cancer patient.
It's usually more central around the nipple area -- hard, firm, painless lump, said Dr. Michael Frontiera of Dean Health System.
Dr. Frontiera says male breast cancer is rare.
There's about 2,000 cases of male breast cancer per year in this country. That's it. There's about 200,000 cases of breast cancer.
Many men who develop it don't even think about the possibility until the cancer has been there a while. It's often diagnosed in men at an advanced stage. That's why all men, especially those with a family history of breast cancer of those whose are carriers of BCRA-2, a breast cancer gene, should be aware and watch for changes in the breast. Lumps, skin changes, or bleeding should be checked out by a doctor. And if it is cancer, men have the same treatment as women.
I had a bi-lateral mastectomy, McMillan said. Then chemo and radiation. And instead of feeling embarrassed about it, Craig developed strong connections with female patients.
I became bosom buddies, said McMillan. I have a lot of female friends who've consoled me and I've consoled them. I mean, I'm sort of like one of the girls.
Craig was diagnosed with stage two cancer. Now, he's cancer-free and enjoying life.