DALLAS (CBS11) – Doctors in southern Dallas County are asking questions after noticing a troubling increase in male breast cancer patients.
“This has us stumped, to be honest,” says Darshan Gandhi, MD. Dr. Gandhi is the Oncology Medical Director at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. “Just since the beginning of this year… we have presented 4 male breast cancer patients.”
Statistically, Dr. Gandhi, who is also a medical oncologist with Texas Oncology, says the number of cases represents a near 400% increase over the norm. And he’s now pushing for answers to nagging questions.
“If there are any risk factors which are particular to all of them, and if that’s the case, that might change how we survey these patients, how we screen these patients.. how do we bring awareness amongst the patients in this particular community.”
And Avist Owens, Junior, is one of them. “I never even thought this would even hit me,” laments Owens. He admits that breast cancer awareness messages are hard to miss– especially now. But, he always thought the concern would be for the women in his family: until a pimple and a mammogram proved him wrong.
“She said, ‘Mr. Owens, I’ll call you back in 7 days’… she called me in 3 days. I knew right then that something wasn’t right.”
Diagnosed in July, Owens says he spent no time on denial: and got busy fighting to survive breast cancer.
“This is a thing that you don’t play with,” says Owens. “I was blessed it was in stage 1, even though I was squeezing black blood out of it over 2 and a half years ago.” But, he never thought cancer. “No. I just thought it was a pimple.”
According to Dr. Gandhi, men are not typically screened for breast cancer so self-awareness is critical. He says risk factors and warning signs include a family history of breast cancer, obesity, a painless lump under the armpit or nipple, and bloody discharge.
He says if those symptoms sound familiar– don’t hesitate. “This can absolutely happen, it does happen, and if it does happen, the earlier you present to your doctor, the better it is.”
“Come clean with yourself,” adds Owens. “Come clean with your family…and say ‘I need some help, something is not right, somebody talk to me’.” Owens has since undergone surgery and will also have radiation treatments. But, says he feels great. “Dying is not a good thing to do alone.”
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