"I would encourage any man diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to step out of their comfort zone and help educate the breast cancer community that this disease has no gender bounds.”
In March 2012, life was good. I had retired after 28 years in the Air Force as a Squadron Commander. At 56 years old, I was enjoying my second career as an MD-11 pilot and instructor at Fedex, when my life came to a sudden stop. Stage 2b Breast Cancer.
Two years later, during a routine checkup, my tumor numbers were slightly elevated, so they decided to scan. To my shock, my cancer returned to my spine. My oncologist gently told me my cancer was no longer curable.
Given male breast cancer is considered a rare cancer, I decided to add one of the top male breast cancer researchers and oncologist to my care team. Together, my local oncologist work together to ensure I have the best care and hopefully access to clinical trials.
As a man with metastatic breast cancer, I found the metastatic community to be very welcoming. I would encourage any man diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to step out of their comfort zone and help educate the breast cancer community that this disease has no gender bounds. Yes, we are rare, but everyday, I see more and more men diagnosed with breast cancer.
Men need to be included in the conversation and research. We need cancer centers to acknowledge us on forms and stop assuming only women get breast cancer. We need to better understand the similarities and differences between male and female breast cancer. Presently, this is not the case, but I feel hopeful researchers will be funded and a better understanding for both men and women living with MBC is around the corner.