Transcript for Male breast cancer survivor shares his journey
It's well known that October is breast cancer awareness month but what you may not know is that it's male breast cancer awareness week. The numbers for women are staggering. More than 266,000 expected to be diagnosed this year. Though not as common, men are also diagnosed with breast cancer and face issues of their own. These are the pictures of breast cancer thrivers from across the globe. A small group of men whose stories are hardly ever heard. I am so sorry. What is he doing here? Men get breast cancer too. It is a real thing. Reporter: ABC's new series "A million little things" hitting the subject head on tugging at our heartstrings with a story of a man who's in remission from breast cancer. The all clear screening I got gives me permission to hold my breath for another three months. It makes men seem more vulnerable, which they are. Reporter: Breast cancer thriver Brett Miller showing us his scars, own 17 when he noticed a lump behind his right nipple. After seven years of doctors dismissing it as puberty he took a mammogram which revealed he had breast cancer at just 24. I come through the door. It says women's clinic. There are other men in there but they're there with their significant other so I go back to take my shirt off, put on the pink gown. It was uncomfortable and awkward. Reporter: A mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy later Miller is cancer-free. But the road to recovery wasn't easy. According to the American cancer society, one in 844 men will have breast cancer in their lifetime. Compared to a one in eight chance for women. I wanted no other men to be alone when they hear the words have you breast cancer because that's essentially how I felt. Reporter: So Miller co-founded the male breast cancer coalition which offers support to more than 300 men and their families. We're talking an average of six to seven men a day right now. It doesn't feel like I'm alone anymore because I have so many other brothers with me in this fight. He certainly does and so glad that he is doing well. Let's bring in Dr. Jennifer Ashton. I'm so glad we're talking about this. Me too. What are the similarities and differences? Well, let me be clear, if you have breasts which obviously is men and women, you need to know the signs and symptoms. That's the most important thing. We talk about breast cancer, we're talking about things like a palpable lump or mass, skin changes, dimpling of the skin or nipple discharge and/or a change in the nipple. That can happen in men or women. The good thing if you will with men is their breast tissue is much less so they can usually pick this up, you know, pretty easily. They can feel it. And self-exam which we're always stressing and you're going to show us a demonstration here. Yeah, now, listen this is not for the patient to determine but in general in medicine and surgery when we feel a firm and fixed mass it doesn't roll around under your skin. That's a little suspicious for a malignancy. When we feel something that rolls around, it's maybe a little compressible, that's less concerning but I want to be clear, anything you feel in your breast whether you have an X chromosome or Y chromosome you get it checked out. I did regular self-exams and when I felt that, I went immediately to the doctor. I actually moved up my appointment because I knew that it was different like that. The chances of survival? Listen, like women the chances of survival for male breast cancer is determined by the stage, the grade, whether lymph nodes are involved. The bad thing about male breast cancer, robin, even though it might be easier for them to pick that up and we're talking about, you know, about 2500 men a year in this country, they might feel it sooner but because the anatomy is closer together in a man, it's actually jem picked up at a more advanced stage because, again, there's not that much taste between the nipple and the ducts and lymph node. Are some more at risk. There are risk factors for men. When we talk about male breast cancer, get etc mutations. Brca, men carry that too and increases the risk of breast cancer, pancreatic and prostate cancerment age, same thing as for women. Exposure to estrogen whether that's by medication or obesity, if you have a history of breast cancer or male breast cancer in the family other medical conditions and obesity, these risk factors are common so men need to know about it. The piece with Brett, he had this lump. Doctors kept saying, oh, no, it's something else. As women we face this when it comes to heart ailments. Absolutely. Why in your profession is -- You're talking about something so important now in medicine. It's gender ink equality issues, depression, heart disease that differ in their pension for a man versus a woman. Then there are things with a lot of similarities. Breast cancer, for example, but what men face here in terms of actually a gender stigma is wrong just as it's wrong when women face it so when we talk about this, we want men and the circle around them to know we see you, we hear you, you deserve to be treated appropriately and just think about the awareness. It's true. The awareness campaign, the breast center has been amazing but, robin, the color is pink. This should have no color and that's what we're doing here. Recently went through it with my big brother. Was with him over the weekend. He celebrated his 70th. He had a tumor. Was recently removed. Thankfully didn't spread and was in his breast and he's going to be okay so I'm so very happy.
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