Male breast cancer more common than boating deaths

  • 04/02/2017
Male breast cancer

Male breast cancer is more common than recreational boating deaths, penis cancer or meningitis for Kiwi men over 50, but they're probably not checking for it, the Breast Cancer Foundation says.

Saturday is World Cancer Day, and the Foundation says it's a good time for men to be as vigilant about their health as they would be about locking their cars or having a safe fishing trip.

Greg Sargeaunt, a male breast cancer survivor, is warning men to take better care of their own health.

"Getting told you've got cancer, whatever level it is, is quite a shock," he says.

"If I'd known then what I know now, I probably would have insisted on having a scan earlier on, because it was quite a lump in the breast. You could feel the lump there that may well have identified the mass earlier on."

Mr Sargeaunt was originally diagnosed with a hematoma in his left breast, which actually turned out to be a four-centimetre cancerous tumour.

"It does happen," he says. "Challenge your GP, get your tests done, then how you get through it is a story for another day."

Mr Sargeaunt had a full mastectomy, had his lymph nodes removed and is going through chemotherapy, all while having regular mammograms.

"A lot of my male friends never believed that I had breast cancer when I told them, and GPs have male breast cancer probably low down on the list of what they would look for."

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • A lump or area of thickened tissue, usually painless and situated close to the nipple
  • Skin changes such as puckering or dimpling, a change in colour or ulceration
  • Nipple changes e.g. a newly indrawn nipple or itchy, scaly skin on the nipple
  • Fluid discharge from the nipple, either clear or blood-stained
  • Unusual breast pain or tenderness
  • Painless lump in the armpit.