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Breast cancer in men on the rise

Raymond Johnson remembers the day he had to be rushed to the hospital for chest pain from a lump in his chest. He is only 27 years old.

"We did a biopsy and four days later I got the news that I have cancer," recalls Johnson. 

Stage 3 breast cancer, to be exact. Johnson says if the pain had not been that bad, he would have ignored it. And he's not alone.

Dr. Jennifer Beatty says that although breast cancer affects only about one percent of men, the death rates after diagnoses are higher and more than 450 men will die this year.

"Survival is not as good for men as women because the tumor is found at a much later stage," she explains.

"When you hear of breast cancer, you only think of women, so being a young man that has breast cancer is what's really odd to me," adds Johnson.
 
Dr. Beatty says just as in women, there are risk factors for breast cancer in men like a strong family history, as well as obesity.

"Men who are overweight or grossly overweight, your estrogen levels are higher, so you should be concerned about that," she says.

Dr. Beatty says in the past, she saw more numbers of breast cancer in people in their 60's, but the numbers have shifted and she is seeing more young people with the disease.

"Just be aware of your body and if you have a family history, be aware," she adds.

After eight months of chemotherapy and 16 weeks of radiation as well as surgery, Raymond Johnson says his road to recovery is on track. And he has a word of advice for other men: "Just get checked out. It might be something or it might be nothing. Just get checked out."

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