A cyst in the middle of a man's chest turned out to be stage 3 breast cancer
- A man found a pea-sized lump in the middle of his chest but doctors said he shouldn't be worried.
- Four years passed, the lump was removed, and he was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
A man was diagnosed with breast cancer after a cyst on his chest turned out to be a tumor.
Jim Allen, 65, from the UK, discovered the pea-sized lump in the middle of his chest in 2014 after watching an advert advising "everyone," not just women, to check for breast lumps, he told breast cancer research and support charity, Breast Cancer Now.
Over the following four years, he was told by three different doctors that the cyst was nothing to be concerned about, he told Insider.
In that time the cyst turned into a red boil, which Allen decided to get removed because he was going on holiday to Marrakech, Morocco, and wanted to sunbathe without the lump being visible, he told Insider.
He thought the breast cancer diagnosis was a joke
It was only after a doctor removed the cyst and it was tested that it was revealed to be breast cancer.
After the cyst was sent off for testing, Allen was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and was given a 50/50 chance of survival.
Allen said he thought the doctor was joking when he diagnosed him with breast cancer, and was in denial.
Breast cancer was never considered by his doctors because the lump was right in the middle of his chest, and for men with breast cancer, a lump will tend to be near the nipple where the breast tissue is. It hadn't caused him any pain and he hadn't experienced other breast cancer symptoms.
Along with a lump or swelling in the breast, the symptoms of male breast cancer tend to include redness or flaky skin in the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, nipple discharge and pulling in of the nipple, and pain in the nipple area, the CDC said.
Breast Cancer Now's senior clinical nurse specialist, Louise Grimsdell, said that many people don't realize men can get breast cancer but they do have a small amount of breast tissue, meaning it's possible for them to get the disease. Around 1% of breast cancer cases diagnosed in the United States are in men, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Risk factors that can increase a man's likelihood of getting breast cancer include getting older, as most breast cancers are found after 50; a family member having had breast cancer; radiation therapy treatment; drug treatment that contains estrogen, which has be used to treat prostate cancer; and obesity, according to the CDC.
Allen felt lonely as a man with breast cancer
After a doctor removed Allen's cancer — which required applying extra local anesthetic to "dig it out" — treatment started almost immediately. Instead of jetting off to Marrakech, he had his lymph nodes removed, had a mastectomy, and radiotherapy.
This was a lonely time as a single man, he said. While there were plenty of breast cancer groups for women, there were far fewer for men, he said.
But the treatments were a success and five years on from the diagnosis, Allen is back to good health.
He is on estrogen-blocking medication to stop the cancer from coming back and has a slight loss of mobility, but the only real change is the loss of a nipple, he said.
"If you've got a lump, tumor or something that you're worried about, just get it removed," he said.
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