Most people don’t realise that men can get breast cancer. Here, Richard Chilvers describes how it feels to be a man diagnosed with what is believed to be a woman’s disease.
I’m upset that as a man I was in the dark about the possibility that I could develop breast cancer.
My story started last April when I discovered a hard lump when turning over in bed one morning. I was nervous when my GP referred me to Worthing Hospital. I sat in reception with ladies waiting for mammograms and saw surprise on many of their faces when the nurse called my name.
After a needle biopsy the doctor told me I had stage two breast cancer. My stomach sank and my wife Ann grabbed and held my hand.
I had a mastectomy to remove the tumour, and some lymph nodes were taken for analysis which were analysed to confirm I had oestrogen receptive breast cancer. My three children were naturally very upset when they heard the news but everyone around me has been incredibly supportive.
Breast cancer has undoubtedly changed my life and my outlook on it. I remain vigilant and regularly check my other breast. I would encourage all men to check their breasts using Against Breast Cancer’s “5 Point Breast Check Guide for Men”
Check your breasts and chest area for;
- Swelling, lumps or thickening to the breast area
- Changes in shape or position, one breast becomes larger
- Drawing-in, discharge, rashes or bleeding of the nipples
- Dimpling or puckering, changes to the surface of the breast
- Pain in any part of the breast or armpit
It’s good to be alive and, whilst I have always enjoyed life, breast cancer reminders in the media have added to my worries and cancer is always there at the back of my mind.
Your support will help the charity continue its innovative work to ensure more people survive breast cancer – men and women.”
The bottom dropped out of my world… I went with Richard for the results of the biopsy with a fairly open mind, but when the surgeon gave his diagnosis it was as if the bottom had dropped out of my world. I just went completely numb and I thought that this could not be happening to us. Then I thought that we must be positive, although the wait for the operation was terrible. Now that some time has passed I feel that we can start looking on the bright side and that the end of a long dark tunnel is in sight.Ann Chilvers, Richard's wife
If you would like to share your story, please contact us and we would be happy to talk to you.