John Koch was mostly concerned about his recovery from knee replacement surgery recently when he mentioned to his doctor that he had some soreness in his chest.
She examined the 84-year-old Hagerstown resident carefully. She thought it might be related to the medication he was taking for his knee, but she wasn’t sure. Another test was called for, one that he never expected. She wanted him to get a mammogram.
Although men are not regularly screened for breast cancer, 1 in every 1,000 will develop breast cancer in his lifetime. When there is a lump or something of concern, they are sent in for a mammogram.
“I was surprised,” John said. And, a little bit scared. His wife and nieces had faced cancer.
John retired from the sheriff’s department a few years ago. Before that job, he worked in the bar business and the aerospace industry. Now, he keeps busy keeping up with his five children and nine grandchildren. A few years ago, he sang Frank Sinatra style to win the Senior Idol competition in Washington County and took third in the state.
He’s been in for more than a few medical procedures, but nothing like a mammogram. He wasn’t sure what to expect. He said he was happy to find friendly staff who made him feel comfortable.
“It was a very nice place and the people were really nice,” he said. “All I was concerned about was the cancer, but they took good care of me.”
The exam is the same for men as for women. It takes just a few seconds. The results are typically available within one business day.
John’s results came back negative. He was relieved to hear he didn’t have cancer.
Now, he says, he’s ready for his next adventure.
“Maybe I’ll even start working again,” he said.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men
There are several indicators of cancer that men should be aware of and look out for. However, it is important to note that these symptoms are not always due to cancer.
- A lump or swelling. This is usually painless, but not always.
- The nipple turning inward
- Redness or scaling of the nipple or surrounding skin
- Discharge from the nipple
- Changes in the skin such as puckering, scaling or redness.
If you notice any of these or other changes in your chest, talk with your doctor.
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