10:52am Monday 09 December 2019

MCM: Man's Breast Cancer Diagnosis Led to Family Members' Genetic Testing

And don’t forget to join in the fun. We’d love to know about the heroic men in your lives fighting the fight against breast cancer. Be sure to tag @uchealthnews with your #ManCrushMonday posts.

In November 2012, Bruce Hayes, 62, said he began to notice a pain in his right nipple that he ignored at first.

“The pain would come and go,” he says. “One day, I noticed a change in the nipple—it was starting to draw in—so I decided to get it checked.”

Hayes says his primary care doctor suggested that he get a mammogram.

“Radiologists saw a mass which led to an ultrasound and biopsy,” Hayes says. “It was breast cancer. I was surprised because no one in my family had breast cancer.”

He underwent a mastectomy, where the cancer and many of the lymph nodes around the mass were removed.

Now, Hayes is cancer-free and is seen for follow-up care by Elyse Lower, MD, director of the UC Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center.

Besides essentially being “cured” of cancer, there were two additional benefits to his experience.

“I tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation,” he says. “As a result, my brother and my children were tested, and my brother and my middle daughter tested positive for the genetic mutation, as well. In knowing their risk, they can actively watch for cancer—both of them receive regular mammograms. They don’t know for sure if cancer will ever develop, but it’s good that they know their risks.”

Mostly, Hayes just wants people to know that men can get breast cancer, too.

“We were in line at the grocery store the other day, and there were breast cancer awareness reusable bags for purchase with the tagline ‘Mothers, Daughters and Sisters,’” he says. “I told the cashier that I thought they should have some that say, ‘Dads, Brothers and Sons,” as well. There was a lady in line with me who said she didn’t know men could even get breast cancer, and I told her that I knew firsthand that they do.

“It’s important for people to know that this doesn’t just happen to women.”

The UC Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary breast cancer team offers patients the combined benefit of advanced, science-driven medicine with a personalized approach to treatment and follow up care. The board-certified multidisciplinary team—made up of breast imagers, medical oncologists, dedicated breast pathologists, radiation oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, fellowship-trained surgical oncologists and a highly experienced oncology nursing staff—meets weekly as a team to discuss and determine the best treatment plan for individuals of any gender affected by breast cancer. Visit uchealth.com/cancer for more information.

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