Hello! I found a lump in my right breast when I was 14 and didn't think anything of it. I googled and just blew it off as puberty or something and ignored it. As I got older it grew and eventually was big enough that I could constantly feel it. I went to a urgent care place since I didn't have a primary care physician and they referred me to a breast health center. There they did an ultrasound and did a mammogram. After that they scheduled me for a biopsy in January of 2017.

The biopsy results came back as benign so I figured since I just started a new job I'll wait to get some time off and get it removed. I went to another surgeon (the other one left town and referred me to the new one) in August of 2017 when I had the time and money to get it taken out. On August 17th the doctor told me it was malignant and it was extremely rare for it to have been cancer, especially since I had the lump for so long. He set me up with an oncologist and I had scans and a mastectomy, because the first surgery was just removing the lump not the entire breast. The oncologist told me he didn't know if chemo would be beneficial after the mastectomy since there weren't many cases of it. We decided to go with 4 cycles of chemo to hopefully get rid of any cancer cells left behind after the surgeries.

I started chemo November 9th 2017 and it just ended on January 11th 2018. Now I go back to the oncologist Monday to see what we are doing next!

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/k6xFY

Edit: Going to go for now. I'll check back on this later and answer more! Edit: Going to bed! Thank you for all the support and kind words!

Comments: 1154 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

unapologetic82425 karma

First, I'm glad you caught it before it got any worst....

Being that males are not usually associated with breast cancer, what were some of the strangest reactions you have recieved after revealing that you were a young man fighting a rare form of breast cancer?

Again, I'm soooooo happy that you kicked chemo's ass!

Edit: Fuck you auto correct! Once again you make a fool of me. For all you folks who were able to decipher this gaggle fuck of not-so-good English words and look past the misspelling, congratulations.

And thank you for proving that reason will prevail!

conahu1976 karma

Thank you so much! A ton of people didn't believe me. They all thought it started somewhere else and just spread to the breast. I had to explain that it was just in my breast and nowhere else. Some people didn't know that men could even get it either. I told them that they definitely can it just is less common for men.

CCtenor528 karma

It’s sad but people don’t know men have breasts period. Not breasts like boobs, but still.

I’m glad you recovered okay. Good luck with your future!

EDIT: I know about gynecomastia, a hormonal condition where men can develop breast tissue. I’m speaking generally, that its sad people don’t know men have breast tissue (hello nipples).

What’s more, it’s sad that people reacted to “I have breast cancer” with “yeah right, you’re a dude” rather than “oh, I didn’t know that could happen. Is there anything I can do to help?”

I know people aren’t bound to understand everything that isn’t common, but biology/sexuality/anatomy courses through school should make people at least aware enough to understand that the human body is anatomically female during development until the point where sexual differentiation occurs.

conahu158 karma

Thank you! You as well!

DCIS_ThanksObama925 karma

Hi. I'm a breast cancer survivor currently in the process of my reconstruction (DCIS, bilateral mastectomy). I wanted to ask if you have had genetic testing?

It's very rare to have breast cancer so young and and as a male. It is possible to have a genetic condition even if cancer is not in your family history. For example, I am suspected to be the first in my family to have my genetic condition.

I would strongly suggest that you push for genetic testing. If you have a condition it could save your life to know what to look for.

Check out this site for more info. http://www.hereditarycancer.org/

Edit:. Spelling.

conahu674 karma

I had genetic testing done after my mastectomy. The oncologist told me it came back with nothing.

DCIS_ThanksObama200 karma

What were you tested for? Make sure it was a full panel not just BRAC, and CHEK. (There are allot of genetic conditions out there that can increase your risk of cancer that aren't always in the panels. If you did Myraid you should be covered though.) Assuming it was a full panel I'm glad to hear you are clean.

Best of luck with your recovery. Fuck cancer.

conahu279 karma

I'm not entirely sure to be honest. Thank you for bringing it up though, I go back to the doctor Monday and I'll ask him again just to be sure we checked everything. Good luck with the reconstruction! Fuck cancer!

DCIS_ThanksObama88 karma

Thanks unfortunately I had an infection in one of my breasts near the AlloDerm so I had to have 2 extra surgeries and am about 4 months behind schedule. My surgeon is really happy with results now and we are thinking I will be done in March or April. I had lots of room between the tumor and my nipple so I was able to do nipple sparing.

It looks like you probably had your nipple removed. Are you planning on surgical reconstruction, 3D tattoo or just going nippleless? This is a big issue with the women I know that have reconstruction. I wonder what you are thinking as a man?

conahu86 karma

Sorry about the complications. I'm debating on either nippleless or tattoo. I think i'm leaning more towards a tattoo though to try to cover the scar a bit.

caseyoc560 karma

Will you do any type of reconstruction?

I hope no one thinks I'm joking--I'm curious how a man feels about how a mastectomy has affected his body, and if you'll feel comfortable going shirtless. And good job to you for spreading awareness about this!

conahu646 karma

Nah I don't plan on any reconstruction. I have recently started trying to lose weight (definitely needed) so hopefully it will kind of just even out. Fingers crossed!

Clamdigger13376 karma

First of all congratulations. Secondly how long did it take you to get through the initial brick wall of emotions that is "you have cancer"?

conahu409 karma

Thank you! It took a while for the shock to go away. About a week after he told me I just broke down for a bit. I was really mad at myself for waiting as long as I did to actually go get it checked out. It took about 2 weeks before I finally accepted it and got a more positive outlook on the situation.

untroller115 karma

Was there any kind of discomfort or change with the lump?

I'm a guy with what my physician says is a hardened lymph node in my pectoral muscle, I'm still trying to figure out if a second opinion is warranted. $$$$, America and all....

Thx!

conahu116 karma

It go to where when I laid on my stomach it would hurt my chest cause of how big it was getting. But I had no other changes other than it growing.

Suicidal_Ferret36 karma

Did it hurt? Cancer I mean. Well, and chemo.

conahu84 karma

The bone pain from the shot of Neulasta I had to get after chemo was the worst pain i've ever felt in my life. Other than that the nausea and tiredness was all the chemo did to me really.

an0nym0ose354 karma

Congrats!

My question: have you seen Archer?

conahu171 karma

I have not seen it but I have heard good things!

Smitty--81--265 karma

Do you by chance live near a military installation? There has been documentated cases of an increase in infant mortality and male breast cancer near military installations due to hazardous chemicals contaminating the local water supply.

conahu239 karma

I live about 20 miles from a military base. That's pretty interesting do you have any links?

bballinYo218 karma

I'm glad to hear that you're doing well and that you're sharing your story.

I had a similar scare a number of years back. I was an 18-20 year old guy and felt a lump. Thought nothing of it for a few years and finally got it checked out. Had to get 3 mammograms over a year. Finally turns out it's just female breast tissue. Apparently 1/5 men or so have this, it just never develops because of the lack of estrogen. But I'm so glad that you're raising awareness about this. Men check your man titties for lumps!

Also have to have a question so what's your favorite food?

conahu127 karma

I'm glad that everything turned out fine! Pizza is definitely the most superior food in the world.

Azozel156 karma

I have a lipoma in my chest and needed an ultra sound to get that confirmed. Unfortunately, my local hospital wouldn't do an ultrasound until I had a mammogram. I found the whole procedure to be very embarrassing and emasculating. How has dealing with breast cancer as a male affected you?

conahu215 karma

I was very embarrassed. It was one of the reasons I waited so long to do anything about it. I felt like I had nobody to relate to almost if that makes sense. The people working at the breast center I went to for my mammogram and ultrasound seemed shocked I was there. It was definitely just a weird experience overall.

Pianoariel68 karma

How does a mammogram work on a man? I was told that it flattens the breast tissue like a pancake. I’m genuinely confused at how that would even be possible to do on a man.

conahu91 karma

Being fat it made it easier to flatten it. I have no clue how they would do it to a man that had a flat chest.

Rosegin155 karma

More men in the US are diagnosed with breast cancer each year than are diagnosed with penile cancer.

Did you meet with resistance from the medical community when seeking treatment?

conahu147 karma

I wouldn't call it resistance but every doctor I talked to when I told them how long I had it the first question they asked was "why did you wait so long?". Other than that everyone has been wonderful every step of the way!

Easy_Floss98 karma

Have you given any serious thought about what kind of lies you will tell to brake the ice about that bad ass scar on your chest?

"I had a big enough heart to save 10 orphans and then some bby, wanna fuk?"

Seriously thought good luck, as a smoker this is one of my worst fears.

conahu57 karma

I haven't but I definitely need to!

duckintheair60 karma

I see someone already talked about the genetic test, but I also want to say that if it's possible, you could ask your mom or your sisters to have a genetic test as well. Also remind them to have annual check!!!

You are such a strong man, buddy! Keep in mind, follow up is important! Also have a positive, healthy life~

Quick question: How's your feeling after chemo? Do you feel something changed, physically or mentally?

Wish you all the best!

conahu75 karma

Thank you so much for the compliments! I did ask my mom and sisters to take the genetic test but they didn't seem concerned. It scares me but I can only ask them so many times. The only thing I've noticed is i'm a lot more scared of random things. If I cough too much I start thinking like "is this lung cancer?". Or if my throat hurts "is this cancer too?".

justanotherstr4nger59 karma

I feel like I wanna hug you right now. Good for you for getting over that. I am sure It has been a very difficult thing to go through. My question is: how did all this change the way you see life, the things we were previously complaining about and your relationship with people?

conahu58 karma

Honestly, I think it made me appreciate everything more. I spend more time with my family now instead of just staying home all the time. I feel like the relationship with people around me got awkward for a bit. Seeing people now, they avoid the topic of cancer altogether now. If I talk about how treatments were going I felt like the mood in the room just changed dramatically.

justanotherstr4nger22 karma

Your answer made me smile. I lost my dad to cancer and it really change the way I see my life (for example I never complained again about a silly boy problem or I did not pay attention to things that were not so important) and the people around me. I wish to nobody to go through what you went through, but it makes me smile seeing them getting something positive out of it. It shows a very strong person to be able to see something positive out of something so sad. I wish you the best! My love from Greece x

conahu15 karma

I am so sorry for your loss. Wishing you the best as well!

the-good-samaritan34 karma

hey man! best wishes and all the best for your recovery..

are you totally done with it? or are there further steps still needed?

how have people been towards you while you had the cancer? any specific incident you remember for it being way too nice or bad?

all the best again!

conahu44 karma

Thank you! I go back to the oncologist this Monday. I don't know if anything else is going to be done or if it's over yet. Family and friends say "I love you" a lot now I've noticed. Also, people tend to try to avoid saying anything about it or talk about it at all. I think it makes them either uncomfortable or they don't want to make me uncomfortable.

I remember after my first dose of chemo I had to get a shot called Neulasta to increase my white blood cell count. I completely forgot to take medicine like they told me too because the shot causes bone pain. I woke up at 2 in the morning I couldn't move my head was killing me and my lower back felt like someone was stabbing me over and over. It would come in waves and it lasted about 3 or 4 hours. My husband got me my medicine and it thankfully dulled down. I never forgot my medicine again after that!

LifeInAFishBowl24 karma

First off, I love your shower curtain! Second, how are you coping with your body change? I know when women have a mastectomy they tend to have a hard time dealing with their breast(s) being removed. As a male do you think it affects you the same way? Are you considering doing anything to the site when this is all over like a tattoo or anything?

conahu30 karma

At first it was shocking to take my shirt off. I didn't really like seeing it. Now it's just kind of there and I think I want to get a tattoo to cover some or all of it up.

conahu7 karma

It was tough to look at when it was first removed but now I'm okay with it. I don't think it affects me the same way it does a woman at all. I do want to get a tattoo to cover it up a bit.

Postmanpat199022 karma

Congrats on fighting it. So we have this false perception that as men we can’t get breast cancer. Did it sink in right away or did you kinda tell the doctor; but I’m a man this can’t be.?

conahu24 karma

At first I kind of shut down. Everyone was telling me it was most likely a cyst or some other benign lump. I guess with so much assurance that it wasn't cancer I got my hopes up too high and it just crushed me to hear it. After a while though it got to the point where I just blame it on shit luck for it to happen.

doctordumb18 karma

Radiation oncologist resident here... don't you need adjuvant radiation? I'm from Canada, but typically it would happen before adjuvant chemo.,, just wondering if your doc ever mentioned radiation as an option and if so, why it wasn't done?

Edit: AFTER adjuvant chemo

conahu13 karma

I finished my last dose of chemo on 1/11 and I go back to the doctor this Monday. Last time I saw the doctor he said we would discuss our next plan after all the chemotherapy was done. It's kind of a mystery right now for me.

Kozinskey17 karma

Here's hoping it's all good news from here. I didn't have any questions at first but then I scrolled through your pictures and HOLY FUCK that scar is a lot bigger than I expected. How has it healed? How do you feel about it these days?

conahu21 karma

It definitely was bigger than I expected as well. I am pretty much okay with it. I finally have a flat chest kind of now I just have to get the other half to flatten! It is weird though that sometimes I will think "damn my nipple itches" but it's not there so there's nothing to scratch!

flaccomcorangy15 karma

Did you ever face difficulties just because of the simple fact you're a male with breast cancer? I figure a lot of people don't even know men can get breast cancer.

conahu20 karma

A lot of people thought I was lying when I told them. They would tell me that they always thought only women could get it.

Cahir10113 karma

We're the same age! How did this change your life? Did you make any major changes in your life when you got diagnosed?

conahu33 karma

I don't stay inside as often as I used to. I used to just stay home and play video games or watch TV or something like that. Now i'm going to see family and friends and going outside to actually exercise which is something I never would have done before. I don't want to die early so I'm really trying to improve my health

_Bumble_Bee_Tuna_12 karma

Just saying congrats, treatment sucks. What is your favorite colored stapler?

conahu11 karma

Thank you it means a lot! Blue.

fredbnh12 karma

Did you feel especially stigmatized being a man with breast cancer? And, what does removing the entire breast involve for a man, all the underlying musculature? I hope you have a great Monday.

conahu16 karma

I think the stigma is that some people think breast cancer is just a woman's disease. I got a number of people who I told who thought I was lying or who didn't even think men could get it. For the surgery they removed all the breast tissue and the nipple. They stopped right at the muscle and also took some lymph nodes out. Have a wonderful day!

Keyra1311 karma

How do you feel about missing a nipple now?

And I hope this doesn't sound insensitive but do you know if having gynecomastia was a factor in this or no?

conahu15 karma

The doctor never said gynecomastia was a factor in it. I think the biggest factor was probably my weight. It is weird because sometimes I'll feel like I need to itch that nipple but it's gone so I can't do anything about it lol.

SirBeethoven9 karma

Where was it exactly? I asked my doctor about it and he just said that having small breast tissue right under my nipple is normal.

conahu11 karma

It was directly under my nipple and areola. Also, it was hard to the touch.

ToastemPopUp8 karma

First of all congrats, secondly I don't mean to be a jerk, but I'm legitimately curious if you were overweight when you found the lump? I know that excess fat causes an increase in estrogen and estrogen can cause you to develop breast tissue so basically I'm curious if any of that might have been a factor. Again, congrats on finishing up chemo and I hope it's only good things from here.

conahu8 karma

Thanks! Yea I was overweight when I found it. I read online that weight does play a factor into it but my doctor never told me it was a factor for mine. He did recommend I lose weight and I definitely am trying harder now than I ever have!

warrior_princess8 karma

Thank you for being so open and I hope you get amazing news on Monday.

I have a friend that was recently diagnosed with cancer and would like to offer as much support as I can without being overbearing, intrusive, or inadvertently offensive. From the biopsy procedure to the last round of chemo, is there anything your friends or family did that was especially helpful or touching? On the other hand, was there any point where you really wish you had someone to talk to, a sudoku puzzle, etc.?

conahu12 karma

My family made it clear they would support me no matter what. I think the biggest thing was when I wasn't feeling like eating from nausea my mom would make me some of my favorite food that she makes and bring it to me. It really made my day and it made eating easier.

_ser_kay_4 karma

How did you deal with the fact that pretty much everything to do with breast cancer—especially resources and things like online communities—are overwhelmingly tailored to cis women? Asking because I’m dealing with a “women’s disease” (probably endometriosis) despite not being cis, and it can be jarring to face a wall of pink when i go looking for help.

conahu5 karma

I didn't really look for too many resources outside of my family and friends because of how supportive they were. But it did feel very lonely whenever I would look for information on the internet since most cases are women and I felt like maybe i couldn't relate since while we did have the same disease, it was different since I was male.

PM_Me_Round_Bellies3 karma

Are you going to get implants to restore your chest? Okay I'm sorry, that was terrible.

Now for a serious question. What were your early signs that lead to going to the doctor? What was the final straw, if you will?

I've got multiple cysts showing up on my chest but I'm hesitating to see a doctor because I'm in America and I'm not rich.

conahu3 karma

The only symptom I had was a lump. It was about the size of a quarter or a half dollar coin but it started much smaller and grew over the years. It was located directly under my nipple and it started making my nipple point in another direction lol. That's when I finally went and got checked.

skeebles2 karma

How big did it end up getting? I've have a lymph node on my neck for forever, it seems to be staying the same size but it's been bothering me for as long as I've noticed it

conahu4 karma

When they took it out it measured 2.6cm. Have you seen a doctor about the lymph node?

Smiling_Sam_2 karma

Hey! Hope all the best for you brother! If you don't mind me asking, how hard was chemo for you and what were the first effects that really hit you hard? Like the "Oh crap, this must be the side effects kicking in"

conahu6 karma

The first thing that hit me was I got tired for the first 3 days or so after getting it. I slept for maybe 16 hours a day and felt like I could sleep more. But the worst side effect was from a shot they give me the day after chemo called Neulasta. It causes the body to produce more white blood cells and one of the side effects is bone pain. I woke up at 2 in the morning and I couldn't function it hurt so bad. It was mostly my lower back, up my spine, and the back of my head. It last about 2 hours and it finally calmed down. It was the worst pain i've eve been in in my life.

up482 karma

What do you think of the episode of scrubs where a guy is diagnosed with breast cancer?

conahu3 karma

I am sorry I haven't seen it :(

aSternreference2 karma

You have about the same build as me. Does your size increase/ decrease the chances of breast cancer?

conahu6 karma

Whenever I was first diagnosed I did read online that being overweight does increase the odds of a male developing breast cancer.

firefly63452 karma

Do you lift, bro?

conahu2 karma

Nope!

Ferks_2 karma

PC or console?

conahu3 karma

PC

cutebearbaby1 karma

Are you planning to get a breast implant? Or a nipple reconstruction? Congrats on beating your Cancer!

conahu1 karma

Thank you! I don't think I am going to get any reconstruction. Maybe a tattoo to cover the scar or something though.

NoOneReadsMyUsername1 karma

I'm a 23yo female who goes Tuesday for a "consultation" on my "carcinoma in situ" biopsy. Quotes because they're SO vague before they get you in person.

How do you feel about being told it was benign, to then find out that it wasn't?

This gives me a ton of hope and thank you for sharing/answering questions. Ladies, get your damn pap smears/colposcopies.

conahu2 karma

Good luck I wish you the very best! At first I was mad because I felt like I was lied to. But I eventually calmed down and thought that doctors are humans maybe someone made a mistake or maybe the sample wasn't enough to clearly see it. After it all I'm just glad they tested it again afterward and found it. Otherwise I don't know what could have happened. Good luck again. I'm here to talk if you need it!

Mango_citrus-4 karma

When you jerk off... Do you cum? Is it more or less before you started chemo? Have you tried it? Does it taste different from before or after the chemo? Has the coloured change? What about the thickness? Is it as snotty as before your chemo? Do you find it smells weird? How about the texture, is that different? Is it harder to clean?

conahu1 karma

Same as before chemo to be honest. I did have to sign a paper saying I wouldn't get anyone pregnant while on chemo cause it can cause birth defects or something.