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Male Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Story, Spreads Awareness For Men

Less Than One Percent of Breast Cancer Develops in Men
10:50 AM, Oct 31, 2018


Olivia Frain

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Did you know men can get breast cancer too? It’s extremely rare, but it does happen. Less than one percent of breast cancer develops in men.

Male Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Story, Spreads Awareness For Men

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says breast cancer in men is usually seen as a hard lump under the nipple and the areola.

John O’Donnell, an 11-year breast cancer survivor, shared his story with HelloSWFL in order to spread awareness to everyone.

“Percentage-wise more men die from the disease than women because they don’t think it’s breast cancer,” O’Donnell said.

“You could be that one percent I was. If I would have known I wouldn’t have had to go through what I had to go through,” he said. O’Donnell was diagnosed in 2007.

“I had a lump over my left nipple, it was oblong and about that long up here and I asked around I had a few friends I thought they may know. I asked if men can get breast cancer most people said no,” he said. So, O’Donnell said he prolonged getting it checked out until things got serious.

"One time it started discharging blood out of my nipple and that's when I knew there was something wrong," he said.

By the time he went to the doctor, O’Donnell said it was stage three and he had to get it treated aggressively. He tried to do research on it when he got home but said all he found was a sentence on a website.

“I was scared to death. It wasn’t even a sentence about male breast cancer. Male breast cancer was just highlighted and clicked on that it was nothing,” O’Donnell said. “I did the only thing that I could do. I put it in God’s hands. That’s all I could do.”

With the help of Partners for Breast Cancer Care, support of his family and his wife Joanne, O’Donnell made it through his surgery and more than 100 radiation treatments.

He wants other men to know that it is okay to examine themselves to make sure they catch it early if they do happen to have breast cancer.

“If you find a lump in your armpit around your chest and around the nipple if you see a lump if you feel a lump go and get it checked out. It can’t hurt," he said.

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