ETX male breast cancer survivor wants more awareness for men in October
POSTED: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 7:43pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 7:03pm
Longview, Texas (KETK) — For 70-year-old Bob Patterson of Longview spending time with his two Maltese dogs, Maggie and Lexi, is one of his favorite things to do. But, in 1999 Patterson got some news from his doctor that he never thought he would hear. He was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Patterson says, "it started about the size of a pea and it began to grow." With his new diagnoses he was afraid he would never see his dogs again.
At first, Patterson says, getting himself to the doctor to discuss a lump on his breast wasn’t easy.
"men, including me, I mean healthcare is just 'do it yourself' you got a problem, you know just take a couple Advil and it will go away,” Patterson says.
However this problem wasn't going away. Patterson says, he noticed the lump getting larger and it began to hurt while he was driving—the seat belt would bush against his chest. Patterson says, "they did a mastectomy, just one side, and then i had to go though chemo, which was the most awful things I had to do in my life."
Patterson's mother died of breast cancer and though his diagnosis he found out he was actually high risk for because of a hereditary genetic mutation. Which Dr. Edward Saulter, Director of Cancer prevention at The University of Texas Health Science Center, says is pretty rare. "Male breast cancer occurs about 1 time for every 100 times it occurs in women," Saulter says.
However, Dr. Saulter says with a certain gene mutation it can be common in men who have mothers with breast cancer, just like Patterson. "It is possible but certainly the incidences are lower overall than in women but certainly it is possible,” Saulter says.
October is breast cancer awareness month and Patterson says he wishes there were more awareness about male breast cancer in October," They never mention breast cancer in men, it's always women. check for lumps and do this and that, but never anything about men, i think men need to be aware of it too,” Patterson says.
After a double mastectomy to prevent his 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer again, Patterson is now, and has been cancer free for 14 years; and plays with Maggie and Lexi all he wants—worry free.