Ed Newsome has a new understanding about men and breast cancer. He is my husband and co-survivor. We're celebrating my 5-year anniversary of surviving breast cancer.
Newsome recently interviewed Jesse Gray, a Kansas City man who is a breast cancer survivor.
Gray was diagnosed six years ago. He talked about the importance of monthly breast self-exams.
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, in the U.S., men represent an estimated 1 percent of all breast cancer cases. This year approximately 2,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and a projected 400 men will not survive.
Gray was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. Even though his mother and two sisters had been diagnosed, Gray never thought he would have breast cancer.
"I just thought it was something women got," Gray explained. "I never heard of a man with breast cancer."
So when he was diagnosed with breast cancer he was shocked.
"I just couldn't believe it," Gray said.
Gray is diabetic, and he was getting an X-ray in preparation for a kidney transplant. That X-ray revealed Gray's tumor in his left breast.
"I had surgery 2 weeks later, " Gray continued.
Doctors removed his left breast and the scar is still there. Newsome asked Gray what he would tell other men.
"I would tell them to get a check-up at least once a year," Gray said.
Monthly breast self-exams are recommended. If a man notices a thickening or hard knot, if the texture of his skin becomes rough, or there is any discharge from his nipple, he should contact his doctor right away.
Gray said that he hopes his survivor story will help save other lives.
Cynthia Newsome can be reached at Cynthia.Newsome@kshb.com.