PRESS RELEASE - Men’s Health Week – “I never thought I would get breast cancer”

Breast cancer charity Walk the Walk - What better time for 14 men to get together with one voice to highlight that Men can get breast cancer too – than Men’s Health Week

What better time for 14 men to get together with one voice to highlight that Men can get breast cancer too – than Men’s Health Week (15th -21st June).

“I never thought that I would get breast cancer” - for many men it is a complete shock, as often they don’t even know that men can get breast cancer too!

Although the number of men affected by breast cancer is much lower than for women, the mortality rate for primary breast cancer in men is high in comparison, due to lack of awareness and late detection. Every year, 370* men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK and 81* men die of the disease.

Two years ago, six men who had all had the disease, joined forces with breast cancer charity Walk the Walk and created the Men get breast cancer too! campaign, determined to raise awareness and to hopefully save lives. When they all met each other, it was the first time that such a number had ever been together in the UK.

As a result, they have worked together on several campaigns and have all been busy putting up posters (until Covid-19), advising men how to Check their Chests.

Now more men have joined the original six, all united in sharing their experiences. Their aim is that eventually everybody will know that men get breast cancer.

Andy Manson – Reading (Stage four breast cancer, which had spread to lymph nodes)
“I’d been experiencing a stabbing pain in my left nipple for months but ignored it – it was my wife Michelle who forced me to go to the doctor.
The speed with which the GP referred me to the breast clinic at the Royal Berkshire Hospital was my first inkling that something was wrong. I was aware at the time that men could get breast cancer – I knew it existed, but I didn’t know what to check for. I had no lump which I could feel – so at the time, I ruled it out. I thought there always had to be a lump.
When I got my diagnosis - it’s like the cliché́ - you never expect it to be you.”

Amrik Rhall – Leeds (Diagnosed with a 2.5 cm tumour, in the early stages of breast cancer)
“My girlfriend Shirelle had pointed out a lump on my chest, I was able to feel it myself, but I decided it was probably nothing to worry about.
Shirelle wasn’t happy to just forget about it. Undeterred, she wasted no time in booking a doctor’s appointment for me. Despite my objections to going, I eventually relented.
A short consultation and check-over later, the doctor had come to a similar conclusion as me. He told me he was 90% sure that there were no problems and that the lump would simply be a cyst, but sent me for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.
I was 100% not expecting the result I received one week later, I nearly fainted!”

Dave Gill – Blandford Forum, Dorset (15 mm tumour in left breast. Diagnosed with Grade 2, ER Positive, Her2 negative carcinoma)
“My wife Kalaya and I were in Thailand checking out hotels for our daughter’s wedding. I spent a lot of time driving around and found that the car seat belt was rubbing on my chest and making it sore. I found a small lump next to my left nipple and we assumed that it was probably a blocked cyst.
On my return to the UK, both my GP and the consultant at Poole General Hospital thought it was a cyst too, but arranged for me to have a minor operation to remove it. I was wheeled out of the theatre and the surgeon told me she had found a small tumour and had just sewn me back up again.
Surprised is an understatement. I didn’t have a clue that men could get breast cancer and it hadn’t even been mentioned to me at all as being a possibility before this point.
I had been treated for minor skin cancers for years, so I wasn’t frightened by the concept of having cancer – it was breast cancer that scrambled my mind, how could I have it?”

Bryan Thorn – Baglan, Port Talbot (Diagnosed with a grade 2, 3cm invasive ductal carcinoma in right breast, with malignant tissue in the lymph nodes)
“I noticed a lump in my right breast when I was showering. I wasn’t checking myself, I didn’t even know men were supposed to check their chest area. I wasn’t naive enough to think men couldn’t get breast cancer, but it wasn’t something you heard much about.
I made an appointment with my GP straight away, who checked the lump and the area around it, and referred me to the breast clinic. The consultant I saw had a prod around the lump area, told me it was fatty tissue and that there was nothing to worry about.
12-14 months later, I noticed the lump was getting bigger, the nipple became inverted, and I started to get discharge from it and it also became painful to touch.
I went back to my GP who quickly referred me back to the breast clinic. Within 10 minutes of my breast clinic appointment, I was going for a biopsy and a mammogram, and I was told it was likely to be breast cancer. It was.
It was very surreal and a bit of a whirlwind. I think my first reaction was relief at being told the cancer was treatable”.

Dave Talbot - Olveston, Bristol (Had a lump the size of a golf ball – diagnosed with hormone receptive breast cancer)
“I found a lump between my nipple and armpit, it wasn’t sore and it wasn’t hard, I just thought it was a boil. I didn’t tell anyone about the lump – not even my partner.
I wasn’t aware that men should check their breasts, but I was acutely aware that if your body changes, you shouldn’t leave it.
I went to see my GP, who checked the area and said it was quite common for men to get fatty deposits, but she referred me to a specialist. It was at this point that I told my partner about the lump.
When I saw the consultant he took a biopsy there and then, and it went straight to the lab as a matter of urgency.
I wasn’t shocked to hear I had cancer, but my first instinct was ‘how long have I got? Is it going to kill me?’ I defy anybody who receives a cancer diagnosis not to be a bit scared.”

Richard Galloway – Wirral, Merseyside (Diagnosed with an 8mm ductal carcinoma)
“Initially, when I was getting irritation in the area around my nipple, I thought I had jogger’s nipple. Then, in the shower, I noticed a lump just below my left nipple - something to be more concerned about.
A week or so later at the doctors. I was told it was probably a cyst, and to come back in a couple of weeks if it was still there.
I waited five weeks before going back for a follow-up as I felt there was a lack of urgency. I was referred to the breast clinic for a biopsy.
I didn’t even know that men could get breast cancer, mainly because I’d just never had to think about it. When I was diagnosed, I must admit I thought “why me? what’s wrong with me?”

David Aggett from Henstridge, Somerset (Diagnosed with breast cancer, which has spread to his lungs)
“I’m a vet and found a tiny lump smaller than a pea under my right nipple after I got crushed and bruised by a cow. I gave it a couple of weeks to go away – then went to the GP.
It took a second biopsy to make the diagnosis, which sent alarm bells ringing, plus during that time my nipple started to invert. So when I got to the surgeon’s office, I would have been surprised to be told it wasn’t breast cancer.
As a very practical person and as the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise, I had prepared for the news.
After maybe 20 seconds of silence and numbness, I just wanted to get on and sort it out. What are we going to do? When’s surgery? What about chemo? When will I return to work? Etc.!!”

Alan Herbert – Scharnegoutum, The Netherlands (Diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma Stage 3 cancer with lymph-gland involvement).
“Cancer? That diagnosis hadn’t even crossed my mind!
I was strong and healthy, I was a long distance runner and I am also a registered nurse and sport masseuse.
I knew men could get breast cancer - in fact, I had worked on a breast surgery ward and had run an oncology clinic.
After finding a lump beside my nipple, which I thought was probably a cyst, I made an appointment with my doctor. She examined me and said, “Well I don’t think it’s cancer as it’s smooth, but I’ll send you for a mammogram just to be safe.
I also had a biopsy taken from the lump and a sample from the lymph gland. This hadn’t been planned so I asked the technician “off the record” how it looked. He said “50/50,” but he lied.
I wasn’t surprised at the diagnosis, but disappointed that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes”.

Glenn Cooper - Fareham, Hampshire (Diagnosed with breast cancer which has since spread)
“I had a persistent cough that had lasted a few weeks before I visited the doctor. My wife Marguerite insisted that I go and get something to fix it.
As the doctor was writing out my prescription, I asked him to check a lump that I had felt on my chest behind my nipple a few weeks earlier. After a quick examination, the doctor concluded the lump was probably nothing serious, but referred me for more checks. A mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy came next. Each doctor that I saw was confident that the lump was nothing to worry about as there was no history of cancer within the family, yet just one week after my first appointment, I was given the news that the lump was, in fact, breast cancer.
My diagnosis of breast cancer came as a huge shock; I had heard somewhere that men could get breast cancer, but had never even thought about getting it myself. However, I remained calm and pragmatic about the diagnosis, quickly focussing on what steps I needed to take for treatment”.

Mark James – Porthcawl (Diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer)
“I noticed one day that my left nipple didn’t look quite the same as my right nipple; it was slightly wonky in comparison. It looked as though the nipple was folded over, but it wasn’t really a bother; I was more concerned with a hernia I had at the time.
When I had a pre-op for my hernia I took my top off in front of the nurse who told me that I should get the nipple looked at. I went straight to the surgery and saw the next available doctor who wanted to refer me. Less than a week later I was having a mastectomy to remove my breast cancer.
It didn’t surprise me - it just made me more curious. After my wife’s own diagnosis with breast cancer, I’d done some reading on the subject so I knew men could be affected.”

Mark O’Connor - Cork, Ireland (Diagnosed after finding a 2 inch lump on his nipple)
“I was in bed, on holiday when I found a lump on my left nipple. At first I just thought I had knocked it, as I was working as a builder at the time so was used to getting bashed about a bit. The lump started changing shape so I spoke to my wife, Tina, and arranged an appointment with my doctor. He didn’t give me any indication that I could have breast cancer, but I was referred to the Breast Clinic straight away.
About a week later, I had a mammogram and a biopsy that same day at Cork University Hospital (CUH). The lump was rock hard and two inches in size, so the specialist I saw was alarmed.
I received my results the following week - I had breast cancer. I remember my consultant looking shocked, but we both wanted to get on with the treatment. I needed a mastectomy of the left breast, and the operation was booked in for a week later.
When I was given the diagnosis, I was taken aback, I didn’t know men could get breast cancer, nor did my wife. “

Giles Cooper - Conderton, Gloucestershire (Diagnosed with cancer in his right breast)
“Because of my family history, I’d started checking my chest. My father was 77 when he died from breast cancer, he was from the generation of men who never really discussed medical issues. Until my father was diagnosed, I didn’t have any idea that men could get breast cancer.
I discovered a lump in my right breast, hidden right behind the nipple. I ignored it to start with, but eventually had it checked out by my doctor, having been encouraged by my wife, who’s a nurse.
Although I was expecting the worst, the news that I did have breast cancer was still an immense shock.”

Roy Collins – Bexhill-on-Sea (Diagnosed with a 6cm tumour, which had spread to his lymph nodes)
“My wife caught me getting out of the shower one day. She is a nurse and noticed that my nipple was inverted. I hadn’t been conscious of it and it certainly didn’t hurt.
She sent me packing to the doctor’s and from there I was sent to the hospital for tests including a biopsy.
My inverted right nipple had been caused by a lump behind the nipple, which my surgeon told me had been growing for probably six months.
I didn’t know that men could get breast cancer and certainly didn’t check myself.
When I was diagnosed, I just turned to the consultant and said ‘if you need to take my breast off, give me radiotherapy, chemo – just do it. Just get rid of it!’ “

Mike Greenhalgh - Abthorpe, Towcester (Diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer and is BRCA2 positive)
“I discovered two lumps in my breasts – one on each side, a small lump near my left nipple and a smaller swelling on my right breast, whilst I was in the shower. I hadn’t been checking myself, so it was completely by accident. After a couple of months my wife, both of us were GPs, prompted me to speak to my own doctor. I have Parkinson’s and we thought it might be a side effect of my medication.
My GP referred me to a consultant and I had a biopsy - a few days later, my consultant said he wanted to see me. He told me that I had breast cancer, I was very surprised, I hadn’t even contemplated that it might be breast cancer. I had been a GP for 27 years, but had never seen a case of breast cancer in men at my surgery, nor had my own GP. I felt the need to be strong to reassure those close to me, but also to remain positive about the outcome of my disease.
I’m one of five children and have an identical twin, Bill. After my diagnosis, I and all my siblings were tested for BRCA. Myself, my older brother and twin brother tested positive for BRCA2 as did one of my sisters. My other sister tested negative”.

*Breast Cancer Now, June 2020 

Notes to Editors: 

Men get breast cancer too!

  • This is the largest group of British men which has ever got together to share their breast cancer stories (except Mark of course – but we couldn’t leave him out!)
  • The awareness campaign was created in 2017 by six men supported by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk
  • The above quotes are extracts from each man’s story about his breast cancer
  • Each individual story can be sent on request
  • Images for each man are also available
  • Check your chest poster here
  • Group image here
  • All the men would be delighted to be interviewed
  • Many of the men were due to meet up at The MoonWalk London 2020 in May
  • Walk the Walk changed its iconic bra t-shirts, to pink with blue bras, for men to wear highlighting Men get breast cancer too!
  • These men know that by speaking with “one voice” they can make more noise and raise more awareness

Please can the following be added to any copy:- 

To join the men on their campaign or to find out more about Walk the Walk visit here

For all the above, contact:

Walk the Walk

  • Walk the Walk specialises in fitness and Power Walking challenges
  • ‘The MoonWalk’ is the flagship event of the charity currently held in London, Scotland and Iceland, with women and men taking on their overnight walking challenges wearing brightly decorated bras.
  • Walk the Walk has raised more than £133 million since 1996
  • As a grant-making charity, all funds are raised for Walk the Walk
  • This money is then granted where the charity feels it will do the most good
  • Funds are granted to research projects which are important to all our future health.
  • Money is also given to a variety of projects supporting people across the UK living with cancer now
  • To date charities which have received grants include: Breast Cancer Now, Breast Cancer Haven, Penny Brohn UK
  • Funds have also been granted to hundreds of NHS Hospitals and Trusts for Scalp Cooling Systems. These are wonderful machines, which help many people undergoing certain types of chemotherapy to avoid losing their hair
  • Walk the Walk also has a community fund which each year grants to smaller organisations including Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, Tenovus Cancer Care, The Christie, Cancer Kin, FACT and others
  • HRH The Prince of Wales is the official Patron of Walk the Walk
  • Due to the coronavirus, Walk the Walk have sadly postponed some of their events including The MoonWalk London, The MoonWalk Scotland and The MoonWalk Iceland. Visit for updates and to find out more about the charity.