Wales

Man's campaign over breast cancer

Surgeon Dr Sumit Goyal with Steve McAllister
Image caption Surgeon Dr Sumit Goyal has praised Steve McAllister's determination to help men with breast cancer

A 58-year-old man diagnosed with breast cancer is campaigning to raise awareness of the disease.

Graphic designer Steve McAllister, from Pontprennau in Cardiff, had surgery and is making a good recovery from the disease, which is usually associated with women.

He now wants to develop better support services for other men with breast cancer

He urged men not to be to embarrassed to go to their GP.

"Men who will find lumps in their breast would probably think nothing of it," said Mr McAllister.

"They will think it is a cyst, they don't think it could be breast cancer.

"If they find a lump of something strange it is important to get it checked out.

"You've got to go to your GP, there is no stigma. It could save your life."

Mr McAllister was sent for a mammogram by his GP after complaining of a lump in his left breast and discomfort.

At the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board both breasts were scanned at the same time, and despite initially complaining about his left breast, the cancer was actually found in his right breast.

He praised doctors and staff for their "excellent" help and care and said he now wants to support others like him.

Image caption Dr Sumit Goyal carrying out the operation

"A lot of people are surprised that men get breast cancer. Even the pharmacist queried why I was being prescribed anti-breast cancer drugs."

He said his main concern was that as a newly-diagnosed male patient he was given information leaflets which were written only with women in mind.

The graphic designer, who works in the media resources team at the University Hospital of Wales, is now photographing his fight with cancer and hopes to develop breast patient literature for men.

"I have no qualms about showing my scar to anyone, it definitely becomes a talking point when I show my family or friends and makes everyone I speak to more aware of the risk of male breast cancer.

"But I know that some male patients may not be quite sure how they accept this new 'look' to their body, so it may be beneficial to them to discuss it privately with another man who has gone through the same procedure.

Consultant breast surgeon Dr Sumit Goyal said the new £1.5m breast centre at University Hospital Llandough would expect to care for about 400 new patients each year.

Only about one in every 100 patients would be male, he said.

The surgeon welcomed Mr McAllister's desire to develop better support services for men affected by the cancer.

Dr Goyal said: "Steve should be applauded for having the strength to stand up and help raise awareness of male breast cancer - many would find it difficult to talk publicly about a condition that most think of as an issue only for women."

He said male breast cancer was something men in their fifties needed to be aware of.

"Because they are so rare, males think that breast cancer is a purely female disease. But breast cancer kills males too."

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