Male Breast Cancer - Taking Control
by Prof.John Boyages, MD, PhD
(see MBC Taking Control tab)
Herb Wagner, born August 23rd 1943, was raised in London, Ontario Canada and worked as an analytical chemist for Labatt Brewing Company in London, Ontario for over 20 years (1972-1993) before joining Health Canada in Ottawa, Ontario in 1995 and finally the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1997. He continues on contract work with USEPA and throughout his career has authored 48 scientific papers in the field of analytical analyses in beverages and in drinking water.
Well aware of the marvels of modern medicine, Herb has had three hip replacements (1998, 2004 and 2012), two knee replacements (1999 and 2010), skin melanoma removed from his arm (2000), shoulder surgery (2004), a pacemaker implanted (2006 and 2011), and orthoscopic surgery on his good knee (2007). In October 2013 Herb was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and in January 2014 Cardioversion which was successful in restoring a normal sinus rythm. On October 15th 2004, before heading south for the winter, Herb was in for his routine physical examination with his family physician in Cincinnati, Ohio. He advised his physician of his concern with the change of his right nipple that had appeared 3 weeks prior to his visit. Herb revealed his right breast to his physician, who disregarded one of the primary signs of breast cancer - an inverted (retracted) nipple – and advised him that he had nothing to worry about. Atr that time, Herb was unaware that men could develop breast cancer and he respected and trusted his physician’s diagnosis.
Approximately 5 months later, friends and family persuaded Herb to get a second opinion. Herb made an appointment to see his new family physician in Florida, Dr. Robert Blackburn, and within minutes of showing Dr. Blackburn the inverted nipple, Herb was scheduled for a mammogram the following day, March 16th 2005. After the mammogram, Dr Blackburn informed Herb that he had a lump in his right breast and a biopsy was scheduled for the next day. On Monday March 20, 2005, Herb was diagnosed with MBC and he was advised to have surgery as soon as possible. Nine days following the original mammogram, Herb underwent a sentinel lymph node evaluation and a modified radical mastectomy, with the removal of 5 lymph nodes. Although men are at risk at any age, the majority of MBC cases are diagnosed in men between the ages of 60-70 years. Herb was 61 at the time of his diagnosis.
The tumor was later classified as Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage II-III, estrogen/progesterone receptor positive. The tumor was 1.6cm in greatest dimension and all five sentinel lymph nodes were clear of any cancer cells.
Because the tumor was determined to be estrogen/progesterone receptor positive, Herb's treatment plan included hormone therapy (Arimidex) without the need for chemo therapy or radiation therapy. Today Herb is almost 10 years cancer-free and he is speaking whenever and wherever he can, as a way to increase MBC awareness.