Men with breast cancer feel alone

DALLAS - Because breast cancer is so rare in men, when a man is diagnosed with the disease, he often finds himself all alone -- isolated with the stigma of having a "woman's disease." 
   
Rick Williams, a Stage-3 breast cancer survivor, said he is a man living in a woman's world and he wants to change that.

Williams has had a mastectomy and the removal of 16 lymph nodes. 

He said men don't have the same support system as women when it comes to breast cancer.

"I think a lot of it is men are embarrassed. They think of it as a woman's disease," Williams said.

Williams' family and church rallied around him. He has spoken at a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.   

"It takes patients like Rick to get up there to talk about his story to raise awareness, because there could be a man right now sitting and ignoring a lump in his breast that we could save his life because of stories like Rick," said Dr. Prasanthi Ganesa, of Baylor Scott & White Health. 

As a nine-year breast cancer survivor, Williams still takes Tamoxifen, gets exams and blood tests twice a year and feels no embarrassment talking about his breast cancer -- especially to other men. 

Men should examine themselves for a painless lump or thickening of breast tissue, any changes to skin that covers the breast and changes to the nipple, including redness, scaling and discharging.

"Men can get breast cancer, too, and men can die from breast cancer, more importantly," Ganesa said. 

Because early diagnosis and treatment are key to fighting breast cancer in women and men, Williams wants a lot more blue in the sea of pink. 

The American Cancer Society estimates 2,500 men will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer and about 500 will die from the disease. 

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