I Had Never Even Heard of Male Breast Cancer

Robert Kaitz, 48, who lives in Severna Park, Md., was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2006

"Men don't realize, we have all the same breast parts that a woman has."
It was funny the way we caught my breast cancer. I had a sore throat, so I went to the doctor. I had a list, you know, "By the way, I also have acid reflux..." and he gave me a fistful of prescriptions. Then I said, "Oh, yeah, I forgot, I have this lump." I'd had it behind my left nipple for more than a year. I figured it was a cyst. There was no pain or discharge. I had never even heard of male breast cancer.

But the doctor told me, "You don't get cysts there." He sent me immediately for a mammogram and a sonogram. That doctor saw it was a solid mass and said, "You gotta do a needle biopsy." And that's when I found out it was cancer.

It was October 2006. I was like, "Oh, my God." You wonder what you've left out in life. I have two great sons that I raised myself. My youngest son is in the military; he was in Iraq while I was diagnosed. I didn't have a will yet. Then there's the fear of chemotherapy and treatments. My father died of colon cancer, and I was the one who brought him for chemo and treatment. Chemo was a lot different then; he was violently ill. But that scared me.

My general practitioner told me to see a doctor who's well-known in the breast cancer arena. So I decided to go with Dr. Julie Lange at Johns Hopkins. She said the first thing before surgery is a needle biopsy for my lymph nodes, and that came back positive as well. We scheduled the surgery just two weeks after.

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As told to: Angelo Ragaza
Last Updated: April 17, 2008

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