My name is Rob Fincher and I’m a 59 year old male who was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2010, thanks largely to the astute observations of my wife who noticed my right nipple had become inverted. We had a bit of breast cancer history on both sides of my parents families, both nothing within my immediate family. My initial consultation with my family doctor had labelled it a cyst and if I wanted a referral to a surgeon then he would arrange it. Following a range of clinical investigations my doctor confirmed I had invasive ductal carcinoma in my right nipple and some metastases in my lymph nodes. How long had it been there? I don’t know because I never checked and after all it was only women who got breast cancer right.
I underwent a mastectomy and had my lymph nodes removed with the resultant pathology indicating it was a Grade 3 ER+ Cancer that had also travelled to 3 lymph nodes, but that the surgical margins were very good. The surgery was followed by chemotherapy (TAC) and radiotherapy that resulted in some pretty horrendous burns on my chest. After a period of 7months I returned to my work within the Financial Services industry.
For the following four years I underwent regular six monthly check-ups that were largely physiological in nature (apart from blood tests) with my Specialists and then in July 2014; after some four years of encouraging results, I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in my lungs and five spots in my bones. My treatment cycle has consisted of two further chemotherapy cycles over a two year period (Abraxane and Triple M), and changing from Femara to Tamoxifen, and now to Aromasin following the identification of more bone mets (now 11 in total…but as they say it’s only a number). In addition I have been having monthly injections of XGEVA (Denosumab) that must be helping as I am experiencing no bone pain.
In summary, these are the changes we made to our lifestyle:
.In the interests of trying to reduce inflammation within the body my wife and I changed our diet to become primarily Vegan
.I commenced a regular daily exercise regime focused primarily on walking by the beach with an aim of completing at least 10,000 steps every day..thanks fitbit for keeping me on track!
.I retired from work immediately following the second diagnosis and reduced all stresses from my daily life. Having a selection of motorbikes to ride in the garage helps to clear the head.
.I have now decided to reflect on my journey to date and advocate in the hope of improving awareness and helping those men who will no doubt follow behind me.
The challenge ahead is to ensure we effectively promote the Male Breast Cancer message and don’t get lost and “drown in a sea of pink”. Changing our language, dedicating specific MBC research programs, and adding some blue would help significantly in an otherwise hugely successful marketing campaign.
We need to remember Breast Cancer has no gender !!!
I am very fortunate to have a very supportive, loving, and understanding group of family and friends who help on a daily basis to reinforce my positive mindset.