A MALE breast cancer survivor from Blandford is highlighting the importance of men taking care of themselves during Men’s Health Week.
Dave Gill, from Blandford Forum, beat breast cancer in 2011 after what he thought what a cyst in his chest turned out to be a tumour.
He did not have any men to talk to that had experienced the same diagnosis until much more recently. Six months ago he joined Walk the Walk, a breast cancer charity, in their men’s campaign section: Men Get Breast Cancer Too, and found himself a community of other men who had also received breast cancer diagnoses.
Dave, 64, said: “Walk the Walk are highlighting the fact that men can have breast cancer and we are becoming part of the campaign. Men can feel very reserved about talking about it and embarrassed.
“We are a select little group within Walk the Walk and we have our own colour t-shirts so we stand out. We are representing a small group who have a tendency not to talk about what they have gone through but now we have learned to be more open about it.
“The whole point of this is to prevent other people going down the same path that we have by raising awareness of checking for any changes in your body, but also for those men that have got breast cancer to know that this isn’t necessarily a death sentence.”
Nina Barough CBE, founder and executive of Walk the Walk, said: “When Walk the Walk first launched the ‘Men Get Breast Cancer Too’ campaign there were only six men, now they are a band of 14!
“This wonderful and courageous group of men are so inspirational in their ambition to raise awareness that men can get breast cancer, and what better time to raise the question of breast cancer in men – than Men’s Health Week.
“It takes great courage to share the emotional and physical ways that breast cancer has affected their lives. But their bravery is born from their passion to help encourage other men to be more aware of just how important it is to regularly check their chest.
“Although less men than women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the mortality rate for primary breast cancer in men is high in comparison, due to lack of awareness and late detection.”
Roughly 350 men get diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, compared with 55,000 women.
Dave added: “When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was stunned, absolutely stunned. I felt completely adrift in the sea and had no one to talk to. Being part of Walk the Walk has really helped me with my mental attitude and it has made me happier to know that I am not alone.”
For more information on breast cancer and Walk the Walk, visit https://walkthewalk.org/about-us/men-get-breast-cancer-too.
t: 01305 830999