Bobby Were is one such man. And he very honestly describes how his male stubbornness let him decide for himself that the pea sized painless lump next to his nipple was ‘nothing’.
Referral by his doctor to a surgeon was ignored. And his male friends backed up his conviction that ‘it’s nothing and will go away’.
It was only when Bobby collected his wife, Linda, from an appointment with her doctor that he was pressed into a second examination. The doctor’s statement that ‘it’s cancer’ made him furious, but he agreed to see the surgeon who confirmed that it was cancer.
Surgical removal of the lump with several affected lymph nodes, and time in hospital started the process of Bobby’s letting go of his self-controlled life. It also set him on an emotional rollercoaster.
Next came the visit to the oncologist and chemotherapy which, Bobby decided would have to be done in pill form as he had a phobia about needles going back to his childhood. A port solved that problem. In his mind he was going to sail through the treatment and show how ‘men can handle anything’.
The side effects that some people suffer, including the loss of his hair, and the scarring on his chest were a levelling experience.
After five rounds of chemo, Bobby was given a break giving him time to totally revamp his garden which became a saving grace.
All that was left was radiation which was less stressful, and five years of tamoxifen tablets.
Despite everything, Bobby believes that his journey with cancer has been one of the greatest blessings in his life. It’s also given him enormous respect for women who receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
Most importantly, Bobby acknowledges that, ‘yes men can be diagnosed with breast cancer – and overcome it’.