News 5 is going pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Although it’s rare, men can develop breast cancer. One Baldwin County man found out he had breast cancer when he went for a gallbladder ultrasound.
Phillip Butts says he was experiencing pain in his right breast, but brushed it off until one day, on his way to see his doctor for a completely different issue, his seatbelt was hitting him in just the right spot to make him bring it up in conversation during an ultrasound.
He said, “I told her that I had been having some soreness in my right breast. And she looked at me kind of funny and said, “Oh really?”‘
Butts describes that pain as muscle soreness you feel after a strenuous exercise. He had a mammogram, then a biopsy.
“It came back positive, I had breast cancer,” Butts told Cherish Lombard.
That was December of 2012.
“I had 16 weeks of chemo and I got through with that then I had 33 radiation treatments 5 days a week,” said Butts.
After that, he thought the cancer was gone. But last December, it came back, this time in his lungs.
“I had nodules on my lungs and I had lung biopsies and it came back positive,” Butts explained.
Less than 1-percent of breast cancer cases develop in men, and it took some time for Butts to find someone he could relate to.
“That was one of the things that bothered me the most, that I couldn’t find a man that went through it. I want to hear from a man, you know? From a man’s point of view. It’s kind of difficult for you to talk to a woman you don’t really know that well that’s had it,” he explained.
It took some time, but Phillip Butts beat cancer again.
He said, “I’m fine. They cured it. It’s gone. The nodules were knocked out and I have no cancer right now whatsoever.”
Now he looks forward to getting back to the things he loves.
“I’m getting back to where I can do what I want to do now being retired and I’m fixing to go get ready to go watch that granddaughter play softball and my other granddaughter, she plays in the band,” Butts told News 5.
He says he believes things happen for a reason. Had he not been going in for an ultrasound that day, had the seatbelt not been aggravating his pain on the way, and even if he had a different ultrasound technician, he might not be cancer-free today.
“The lady at the diagnostic center, she saved my life. Because men usually don’t recognize the symptoms of breast cancer before they’re bad,” he said.
Other symptoms men should look for include:
A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue.
Changes to the skin covering your breast.
Changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling, or discharge.
Phillip wants to provide his email address to other men diagnosed with breast cancer so they can reach out to him if they need someone to talk to.