Men: Survivors and thrivers of breast cancer

A Healthy You

Although male breast cancer may be rare, it can be severe.

Roughly one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed is found in a man.

“That’s still a whole lot of people,” says Dr. Larry Norton. “And for those individuals, it’s extremely important, obviously, for their lives.”

Meet thriver Kenneth Todd Nelson.

“I have to continue to tell this story so I can help save lives,” says thriver Kenneth Todd Nelson.

At 34-years-old, his life turned upside down after an unexpected moment at a routine allergy check-up.

“He just happened to ask me ‘Is there anything else that is going on?’ and I happened to mention the small bump. He said, ‘I think you’re okay. But let’s just get it checked out.’ Everything completely stopped.”

While facing stage two breast cancer, Kenneth kept his condition private at first.

“You go into this room with all these ladies and you’re the only guy… that’s something else that does something psychologically to you too. Now it’s this stigma for me that’s associated with it.”

“Kenneth is extremely brave,” says his friend Cecilia Flagg. “He wants to help everyone protect everyone… and that’s what he does with that loving heart and spirit of his.”

“Even many men that we’ve seen will ignore a lump in their breast for months to years, and that increases the chance that the cancer cells will spread to other parts of the body,” said Dr. Larry Norton. “The cure is much less likely.”

For Michael Landesberg, he was told if he didn’t have a mastectomy he’d only have one year to live.

“You know,  I need to get well, I need to beat this,” said Landesberg. “I need to be around for my wife and my son.”

In recovery with loved ones by his side, Michael’s journey ahead includes pushing more men to take charge of their health.

“I realize the importance of being proactive and going for screening and going for testing because it may be the difference between life and death.”

“I don’t know of any other man that would be able to get through that and come out better,” said Michael’s wife, Jamie.

Both Kenneth and Michael now working with the Male Breast Cancer Coalition to break the stigma.

“We’re taught to be tough, to be silent, to be quiet when we go through things,” said Kenneth. “And that’s the opposite of what we need to do. When we see something, say something, fell something, share.”

And to raise awareness that men can get breast cancer too.

“If my story touches one person, then it makes it all worth it,” said Michael.

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