69-Year-Old Grandfather Finds Lump in Chest While Bathing – Turns Out to be Breast Cancer: ‘Men Just Need to Be Cautious’

A 69-year-old grandfather of two initially thought nothing of the pea-sized lump he found in his chest while taking a shower. But when it turned out to be breast cancer, he now hopes that sharing his story can raise awareness to other men that they can also get breast cancer in other men.

Male breast cancer affects less than 1% of men, according to the American Cancer Society, but Mike Burrows, from Derbyshire, England, still urges others to get the disease checked.

Speaking to PA Real Life in a recent interview, according to IrelandLive, Burrows explained how just weeks after entering retirement last year she felt an unusual lump “on the right side of her breast” in the shower. After doing “nothing” and thinking it was just some kind of swelling, the lump persisted and a week later she called her doctor. His check-up with his general practitioner was then followed by an additional check-up at a nearby hospital and a biopsy—leading to his diagnosis on Oct. 25, 2022, the news recalled “shockingly” him and his wife of 62 years, Jackie. And on November 28, 2022, a single mastectomy (breast removal) confirmed she had stage 2 breast cancer.

Burrows told Real Life PA, “Before I did the biopsy, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“All of a sudden it dawned on me when I got to the door and it said: ‘Breast Clinic’ – and as I walked through the door, I was the only man there, and I thought: ‘I’m out of my league here. ‘”

Following her diagnosis, Burrows recounted, “I was just staring at the floor in the consulting room. I just didn’t know what to say, nothing came out of my mouth. You’ve reached the age of 68, and you think that you’ve lived life unscathed, and suddenly, you get something like this. It took my breath away.

Thankfully, Burrows has since been put “in balance” after five sessions of radiotherapy last March and now urges other men to seek help when something is wrong with their bodies.

Eliminating the Stigma in Male Breast Cancer

“I am completely out of water, a man with breast cancer… but right now, I just want to make sure that people out there try and swallow this pill of pride,” explained Burrows. “It’s an old thing that keeps getting put out, that men don’t act on something that’s wrong, they don’t pick up the phone and call a doctor.”

RELATED: Survivor Surprised, 79, Beats Male Breast Cancer After Seeking Medical Opinion About Her Frequently Flaking Nipples

He added, “But if I can get at least one guy to go to the doctor and get checked out, then that would make me really happy because I think there are a lot of guys out there who don’t.”

Burrows especially hopes to see more men on breast cancer flyers in hospitals or medical offices.

“I’m a strong person, mentally, but a lot of guys probably sit there and think, ‘I can’t handle this, I’m in a women’s environment, I’m in a breast clinic and everyone is going to wonder why I’m here. ,’” he said.

After the radiotherapy sessions, Burrows will now have to take tamoxifen tablets (a breast cancer-fighting hormone therapy drug) prescribed for the next five years.

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Burrows labeled herself lucky for having her lump checked, urging, “If more men follow through with it, maybe we can stop male cancer down the line.

“Men just need to realize that, if something goes wrong or they notice a change, don’t just think, ‘Oh, this will go away next week,’ because it probably won’t. If I do that, mine won’t disappear.

Understanding Male Breast Cancer

Men diagnosed with breast cancer are rare. But, as we learned in the case of Mike Burrows, it can happen. As this disease accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers, male breast cancer poses a unique challenge in terms of awareness and early detection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common signs of breast cancer in men include:

  • Lump in the breast.
  • Swelling in the breast.
  • Redness of the breast.
  • Exfoliation of breast skin.
  • Irritation on the skin of the breast.
  • Dimpling on the breast skin.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Pulling on the nipple.
  • Nipple pain

MORE: Shock And Amazement To Hear You Have Breast Cancer – Men Need To Know About The Risks

Always talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts. Even if you feel the changes in your health are caused by something harmless, don’t hesitate to seek a professional opinion. You never know when talking might lead to an important diagnosis.

It’s also important to note that the treatment for male breast cancer is largely the same as for female breast cancer. The choice a person makes depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the tumor and how far the cancer cells have spread, as well as the biologic and genetic factors that might predispose your cancer.

Possibilities include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

There’s No Shame About Male Breast Cancer

As Mike Burrows points out, there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to male breast cancer. And other survivors we’ve spoken to say the same thing.

Marc Futterweit is a two-time breast cancer survivor… and he knows firsthand that the shame that comes with a male breast cancer diagnosis can be debilitating.

If You Feel Something, Say Something – Men Ignore The Symptoms Too Often

The urge to ignore the symptoms, almost like that of Mike Burrows, and tell yourself that breast cancer is a woman’s disease can discourage you from getting screened.

But Futterweit has also been an advocate for this disease and is now dedicated to stopping that way of thinking.

Futterweit told SurvivorNet in a past interview, “Men basically stand in the shadows. They are shy or embarrassed… this is a woman’s disease. [But] why can’t men get breast cancer?”

His philosophy is, “If you feel something, say something.”

Futterweit detected his own cancer when he felt a strange lump in his chest while taking a shower. She admits to being confused when her doctor suggested she get a mammogram, but the truth is, it might have saved her life.

“The problem with men is that they wait, and they think things will pass. Once they are diagnosed, it is sometimes too late,” said Futterweit.

Breast Cancer Survivor Mathew Knowles, Father of Beyoncé and Solange, Urges to ‘Take Control of Your Health’

Mathew Knowles, father of music superstars Beyoncé and Solange, also previously spoke to SurvivorNet, as a “male breast cancer survivor” and advocate.

Knowles’ cancer journey first began when she started noticing something odd on his T-shirt.

“My wife has bought some new T-shirts, white T-shirts, for me and imagine a white piece of paper and you have a red pen and you have maybe four or five dots on it,” he said. said in a Twitter video. “And I said, ‘It probably has something to do with this shirt, the T-shirt, that my wife bought.”

When the red dots continued to appear after three days, Knowles decided to talk to his wife. “I said, ‘keep looking at these black dots of blood.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I cleaned the sheets the last few days and there are black blood dots on the side of your bed,’” she explains.

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Before becoming a music executive, Knowles used to sell breast cancer imaging equipment. And it was this earlier career that actually pushed him towards a diagnosis in 2019.

“Oddly enough, I sold the main modalities for breast cancer detection from 1980-1988 in Xerox’s medical division, so I had very little knowledge of breast cancer,” she told SurvivorNet. “I know from last year what [the blood] that is to say, and I immediately went to my doctor who immediately referred me to get a mammogram which led to an ultrasound which led to a biopsy which led to surgery.

Following her diagnosis, Knowles discovered she carried the BRCA2 (BReast CAncer 2) gene mutation meaning that her children had a 50 percent chance of also carrying the gene. Thankfully, Knowles previously said Beyoncé and Solange had tested negative for the gene mutation.

“Somewhere in all of this, there was a delay in getting back my pathology report. If I had gotten my pathology report sooner, I would have had a double mastectomy, but I didn’t,” she said. “In my years of work (in medical sales) I have never heard the word BRCA 2 or that I am genetically mutated. I don’t know anything about BRCA2 or genetic mutations.”

Knowles, who remains cancer free to date, has been a strong supporter of male breast cancer awareness as well as health advocacy within the black community.

“It’s like everything else in life. It’s about knowledge,” he told SurvivorNet. “And knowledge is power. The more information we have, the better we can educate men and women about early detection.”

Contributing: SurvivorNet staff

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.


Danielle Cinone is a writer at SurvivorNet. Read more


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