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Real men get breast cancer – Mark’s story

May 24th, 2017
NBCF Speaker Mark

Mark always had scar tissue behind his right nipple but one day, five years ago, he was working up a ladder at home and felt soreness as that area pressed against the guttering.

The scar was from a childhood injury, so when I felt a lump developing on the side of my right nipple I thought it was the scar getting a bit weird.’’ 

Almost as an afterthought at his next doctors’ check-up four months later, Mark asked his GP to take a look. Things moved quickly and following a series of screenings and tests, Mark got a diagnosis of breast cancer.

At age 50, Mark was shocked by the news. He was fit and healthy with a wife and three young kids.

When he got home that evening after he was given the diagnosis, Mark recalls walking through the door and seeing his wife Caroline in the kitchen getting dinner ready and the kids watching TV, and thinking to himself,  ‘’Domestic bliss: a typical family scene on a Friday evening in November in Sydney.’’

When Mark was putting his youngest son to bed and reading him stories – he was snuggled in lying on his shoulder, and Mark thought, ‘’Will I still be doing this in 6 months?’’

After a mastectomy and four lymph glands removed, Mark went in for the post-operation consultation to be told they had caught the breast cancer early. If it were any later, it may have become invasive cancer.

“Even now, five years down the track, it’s hard to get my head around the fact I was a man being told I had breast cancer.’’

In support of men like Mark, and women affected by breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is encouraging men to Get Pinked this Men’s Health Week (June 12-18) and raise funds for life-changing breast cancer research.

The campaign, called Real Men Wear Pink, will help NBCF fund breast cancer research focused on prevention. Real Men Wear Pink also highlights that breast cancer isn’t a women’s-only cancer, men can be diagnosed too.

As a speaker for NBCF, Mark feels strongly about raising awareness that breast cancer is not exclusively a woman’s disease. Men get breast cancer too.

“I am very open about the fact I’ve had breast cancer. When I tell other men, they are incredulous, they have no idea men can get it.’’

To support the 140 men diagnosed with breast cancer this year and the 44 women diagnosed today, register now to fundraise at realmenwearpink.org.au.