BREAST cancer is often thought of as a disease that only affects women, but Peter Knight knows all too well that’s not the case at all.
The 81-year-old, of Old Road, Cosham, had a masectomy after he was diagnosed with cancer in his left breast.
Today, on the start of Blue September – a month dedicated to raising the awareness of male cancers – he shares his story to encourage other men to talk about their health.
He said: ‘I went to see the doctor about a pain in my stomach and then also told him about a lump that had formed on my breast.
‘The doctor felt the lump and immediately said he would complete a biopsy, and to my astonishment within the hour I was told I had breast cancer.
‘It was a huge shock. Men don’t have breasts – or so I thought – so how can they get breast cancer?
It was a huge shock. Men don’t have breasts, so how can they get breast cancer?Peter Knight, 81
‘I’d never heard of a man getting breast cancer before, and if I hadn’t have had the appointment about my stomach then I’d probably never have ventured for the doctors to even get the lumped looked at.’
Within a month of being diagnosed Peter had a mastectomy and four lymph nodes removed. He has now been cancer-free for five years.
He added: ‘Prior to getting breast cancer I’d put off going to the doctor if I felt poorly.
‘Being told I had cancer off the back of “casually mentioning” of the lump within another appointment was a life lesson, that actually if something abnormal is going on with your body then you should get it checked out immediately.
‘One day you could have the wind taken out of your sails and told you have cancer, and have left it too late.’
Avi Agrawal is a consultant breast surgeon at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, who said although the number of men with breast cancer is low, they are still prone to it.
He said: ‘In QA we probably see about three men a year, compared to around 700 women.
‘It’s important men get symptoms checked out.’
Signs that you may have breast cancer
SYMPTOMS for breast cancer in men are very similar to what women experience.
Avi Agrawal is a consultant breast surgeon at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and said if men have any of the following symptoms then they should their GP.
He said: ‘The symptoms are similar to those women may experience – a lump in the breast, nipple discharge, especially if it’s bloody, retraction of the nipple or ulceration of the skin in that area.
‘And if someone feels a lump in the armpit then that’s a potential sign.
‘For any of these symptoms the first thing you should do is see your GP.
‘If it needs further investigation then you will be referred to a specialist.’