Body

Real life: 'I'm 23 years old and fighting a rare form of breast cancer. Oh, and I'm a man...'

This Reddit user bravely details his battle with breast cancer – a condition he says not enough people know that men can be diagnosed with too…

By Ellie McDonald

The lump that wouldn’t go away

I found a lump in my right breast when I was 14 and didn't think anything of it. I googled and just blew it off as puberty or something and ignored it.
As I got older, it grew and eventually was big enough that I could constantly feel it.
In January 2017, a biopsy revealed that the lump was benign so I figured since I just started a new job I'll wait to get some time off and get it removed. I went to another surgeon in August of 2017 when I had the time and money to get it taken out.
That's when everything changed…

Surgery after surgery

After the surgery, the doctor told me that my lump was, in fact, malignant and it was extremely rare for it to have been cancer, especially since I had the lump for so long. He set me up with an oncologist and I had scans and then a mastectomy (the first surgery was just removing the lump not the entire breast).
The oncologist told me he didn't know if chemo would be beneficial after the mastectomy since there weren't many cases of it. We decided to go with four cycles of chemo to hopefully get rid of any cancer cells left behind after the surgeries.
At first, after the surgeries, it was shocking to take my shirt off – I didn't really like seeing how my body had changed. Now it's just kind of there. I think I want to get a tattoo to cover some or all of it up.

I couldn’t believe the diagnosis – and neither did the people around me

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a tonne of people didn't believe me. They all thought it started somewhere else and just spread to the breast. I had to explain that it was just in my breast and nowhere else.
Some people didn't know that men could even get it either. I told them that they DEFINITELY can – it just is less common for men.
Following my diagnosis, it took a while for the shock to go away. About a week after my doctor informed me of what was going on in my body, I just broke down. I was really mad at myself for waiting as long as I did to actually go get it checked out. It took about two weeks before I finally accepted it.

Life after my diagnosis.

The only thing I've noticed is I'm a lot more scared of random things. If I cough too much I start thinking, "Is this lung cancer?" Or if my throat hurts: "Is this cancer too?"
I go back to the oncologist this Monday. I don't know if anything else is going to be done or if it's over yet. Family and friends say "I love you" a lot now I've noticed. Also, people tend to try to avoid saying anything about it or talk about it at all. I think it makes them either uncomfortable or they don't want to make me uncomfortable.
To be honest, I feel like the relationship with people around me got awkward for a bit. Seeing people now, they avoid the topic of cancer altogether now. If I talk about how treatments were going I felt like the mood in the room just changed dramatically.
But you know what? My family made it clear they would support me no matter what. That's all that matters…
Story was posted by Reddit conahu.