Topeka man fights, shares warning signs of breast cancer

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Women are trained to give themselves breast exams frequently, but what about men? Three months ago a Topeka man felt something funny on his chest.

“I was sitting in my living room and I had my shirt off. I took my left hand and pressed it against my breast and felt a bump, a real hard bump about the size of an end of a razor,” said Bennie Drew of Topeka.

Bennie got an appointment with his primary care doctor within a couple of days.

Dr. Karissa Boyd an oncologist at Stormont Vail said they confirmed a two centimeter mass in his breast. He then saw the surgeon and had a mastectomy, which is where they remove the whole breast as well as some lymph nodes in his armpit.

For some men taking action, even just talking about it, is embarrassing.

“Many men are embarrassed to say they have breast cancer because it has that stigma of being female cancer. They don’t want to tell someone that they have that and they unfortunately present much later a lot of times in the course of their disease and the later you present the worse your prognosis is.”

But Bennie took action immediately, which is key to fighting any type of cancer.

“I saw all the doctors I needed to see and operation and I was an outpatient. I didn’t really stay that long. I walked out that day. Never really did have any pain,” said Bennie.

Local oncologists report about 250,000 women nationally will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, as opposed to only 2,000 males diagnosed annually.

Bennie has an extensive family history of cancer, including breast cancer.

“My doctors explain to me that I could have passed it on to my kids. So I am really trying to have them go and have a checkup. You could call me lucky or just a fluke but whatever it was it saved my life. So since this is prevalent among men why don’t get checked out,” said Bennie.

Bennie will take a drug given to pre-menopausal women for the next 5 to 10 years. But today, doctors say he is cancer free.

Doctor Karissa Boyd said early screening saves three million people a year. If you’re a male with breast cancer in your family’s history, make sure you do regular self-checks. If you notice anything unusual, get into see a doctor as soon as possible.

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