Rethink pink: When men get breast cancer

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

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When you think about men and cancer, prostate cancer is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But men can get breast cancer too.

For the families and the men affected, they’ll tell you it’s time to rethink pink.

“I really didn’t want to hear ‘you’ve got cancer,'” said Hugh Campbell, breast cancer patient.

According to the American Cancer Society 1 in 1,000 men will have to battle breast cancer in their lifetime.

“And you think about how lonely that journey can be for that one man and his family,” said Campbell.

It’s been a very long and lonely seven year journey for Hugh and his family.

“People need to talk about it a whole lot more there’s more men that have breast cancer than a lot of people think,” said Campbell.

There are 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. About 430 of those men will die from cancer in 2014.

“I had a lump on my breast it was like a knot,” said Campbell.

“This man was a man that was never sick,” said Kim, Campbell’s wife.

And for two years Hugh felt that lump.

“I went and had a mammogram and it came back gynecomastia,” said Campbell

Not a tumor, but he was told he had an increase in the amount of male breast tissue. That knot never went away.

“On Thanksgiving Day, my wife threw me under the bus and told my mother ‘He still has that lump and it’s still hurting,'” said Campbell.

Within a week he was schedule for a mastectomy to remove Stage 3 breast cancer.

“It was kind of scary ’cause I didn’t know what it was going to be like,” said Campbell. “My wife got two hamburgers buns, laid them down on the table and said this is your chest now. She took one of them off and said this is gonna be your chest after you’re done.”

The cancer metastasized to the other breast.

“We’re not letting this disease destroy us. It’s destroyed us financially. That’s ok ’cause that’s material,” said Kim. “We live. We don’t just exist. We stop and smell the roses.”

And their ribbon is not just pink.

“The tips of the ribbon are blue to bring awareness men get breast cancer too,” said Kim.

There is a new documentary soon to be released called “Pink and Blue.” It highlights the need for change so more men can get the breast cancer treatment they need without shame and embarrassment.

Men with breast cancer currently have lower survival rates than women. One reason, it’s not detected early enough.