HOUSTON - It's something that's often overlooked; almost 3,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022 since only 1% of cases are in men, but Tony Lewis, of Sugar Land, wants to be the voice for guys and encouragement to never ignore symptoms.
"I never realized that men could get cancer in that way, and it was a shocker," he said.
EXPLAINER: What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Lewis wants to make sure men realize that they can get breast cancer too!
Almost 3,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. It can be a tough topic since only 1% of breast cancer cases are men. Tony met up with us and his surgeon at Memorial Hermann in Sugar Land to talk about his breast cancer journey.
"I actually found out because I was working out, and I felt the knot in my chest and went to my local practitioner, who sent me over to meet Dr. Dempsey," says Tony.
He's referring to his surgeon, Dr. Kelly Dempsey, from Memorial Hermann Sugar Land, who hopes that men will pay close attention to Tony's message and not ignore symptoms.
"I do see that a lot. Men tend to think that it's not anything concerning. They get very relaxed about it and it (cancer) often presents much later than it needs to," explains Dr. Dempsey.
She encourages men and women to take time when they bathe, to lather up and do self-breast exams.
While ladies may have gotten this suggestion before, men may not be used to that routine, but Dr. Dempsey highly encourages them to make it part of their routine, at least once a month!
"Well, if you bathe yourself on a regular basis, you should be taking care of your breast exams," states Dr. Dempsey. "That's part of bathing yourself with your hand. So, if a man is just checking his body while he's bathing, he's going to check and see if there's anything, anything that's abnormal, it's going to be as hard as a knuckle and so it should be right in or around the nipple and the areola, because that's all the area that is a breast in a man. I tell everybody put the puff down."
"We don't need a puff to wash ourselves," Dr. Dempsey continued. "Use your hand, wash your body with your hand at least every so often, and if you feel something, you're going to know right away."
Then, she says seek immediate advice from a doctor!
Men actually often undergo a mammogram in the first stages of a breast cancer diagnosis. It may seem physically impossible, but it's not.
"Whenever a man is first diagnosed, we do want to get imaging, it is possible (for them to undergo a mammogram), it's just a little bit more uncomfortable because there's not much tissue," says Dr. Dempsey. "In addition to that, we have ultrasounds which really show us a lot. That sort of combination of the two helps us to diagnose breast cancer."
"I've not actually had to have mammogram since the operation, but I do see Dr. Dempsey every six months, and if she tells me to go have one, I will do that," Lewis added. "I went through a mastectomy and then went through some reconstructive surgery, not implants, and thankfully, I think I'm past most of the issues."
His take-home message for gentlemen: "Be aware, get tested, and don't think you can't get it," Lewis said.
For more information about breast cancer, click here.