The Wokingham Paper

‘I thought there had to be a lump’ – Reading man describes his battle against breast cancer

Andy Manson
Andy Manson is drawing on his own experience to call on men to check for signs of breast cancer

A READING man has joined the largest campaign for male breast cancer in Britain.

Andy Manson has joined 14 men — 12 from the UK — to talk about his experience with stage four breast cancer.

The campaign, men get breast cancer too, was created by Walk the Walk — a national breast cancer charity founded by Wokingham woman, Nina Barough.

The group of men hope that by speaking with “one voice” they can make more noise and raise more awareness of the issue.

Mr Manson — who is now in remission — said: “About six months before I was diagnosed, I started feeling some stabbing pain in my left nipple.

“My immediate thought was that the pain was probably something bad. 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 just had pain and no lump which I could feel – so at the time, I ruled it out. I thought there always had to be a lump,” he explained.

“The pain went away, but months later it came back and my wife Michelle forced me to get myself checked out. 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 had a biopsy and a mammogram and a couple of weeks later, went back for the results. It turned out that I had a tumour, but not one which I could feel — I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, which had spread to my lymph nodes. It’s like the cliché – you never expect it to be you.”

male breast cancer
A poster from Walk The Walk

Six years later, Mr Manson said he is “passionate about raising awareness that men get breast cancer too”.

He said: “There are still large numbers of people who don’t know — I’ll tell anyone who wants to listen and I even show them my scar, just to prove it.”

He wants people to learn about the other signs of breast cancer, in the hopes of spotting it early.

“There’s a lack of information about what to check for,” he explained. “I had an inverted nipple, and pain. But other signs include discharge, and pain towards the armpit — where the lymph nodes are.

Walk The Walk

“I’m now taking Tamoxifen — a hormone suppressant. But even the pharmacist was confused as to why I was being prescribed it.

“The awareness about male breast cancer is so much smaller due to the fewer cases. There’s about 350 a year, that’s one every day.

“I just felt I had to get the word out, not just to men, but for women to help their dads, husbands, boyfriends and brothers know what to look out for.”

Mr Manson has also helped fundraise for Breast Cancer Now by abseiling from the Madejski Stadium, and taking part in a charity fashion show.

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