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Fri Oct 24, 2014, 06:38 AM


BCAM: Living With Breast Cancer – as a Man

For Gallo, the culprit turned out to be genetics. “Right after I was diagnosed, my doctor referred me to a genetic counselor,” he says. “I had the BRCA test, and I came back positive for the gene.” The BRCA gene is a mutation that raises your risk for breast cancer by up to 85 percent and can be passed down in your family.

There’s no difference between men and women diagnosed with breast cancer, says Marleen Meyers, an assistant professor of medical oncology with NYU Langone Medical Center. Detection, treatment and prognosis are the same. The only problem is that men tend to get diagnosed much later than women. “Men are not undergoing routine screenings,” she says. “They only seek medical attention when they feel a lump, whereas women have routine screenings and get it identified earlier. By the time men come in, the tumor is usually at least 1 centimeter in size, and the cancer has often spread.”

Gallo’s tumor was 2 centimeters by time he went for surgery, and the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. He opted for a double mastectomy and had his breast tissue and 30 lymph nodes removed. Then he started chemotherapy. “It was pretty rough,” he says. “ did eight treatments over 16 weeks. It left me really nauseous and in incredible pain. I’ve been finished for almost a month now, and I’m still feeling the effects. It’s turned my life upside down.”


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