Breast cancer doesn’t happen only to women

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Breast cancer is thought by many to be a woman’s disease.

But that’s a myth.

Just ask Jennifer Weeden.

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Weeden, who has lived in the Dallas County area for 30 years, has a 27-year-old brother, Tommy Creel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.

Since then, Creel has had a mastectomy, all of the lymph nodes under his left armpit removed and undergone five treatments of chemotherapy to rid himself of the cancer.

The ordeal not only affected Weeden, but also her husband, who has told friends at work about it and why they shouldn’t ignore any signs their body may give them.

This year in the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates that 1,500 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, compared to 200,000 women. ACS also projects that of the 40,00 people who will die as a result of the disease, 400 will be men.

Creel first noticed the lump in his left breast as he unloaded a Wal-Mart truck and a box fell on his chest.

Thinking it was just bruised, Weeden said, he ignored it.

Then while in the shower a few days later he felt something wrong and said to his wife Christy, &uot;Feel this. This doesn’t feel right,&uot; Weeden remembers what Creel told her happened next.

Creel’s father had died of liver cancer in 1998, but no one never expected anything like breast cancer to strike a family member.

Now her perception of breast cancer is different, and she realizes that it can happen to anyone, even a man.

It has also made Weeden realize the importance of paying attention to her body and the most recent signals it has given her. She admits that not long ago she had a mammogram that &uot;spotted something&uot; and staying on top of that has been her number one priority.

Weeden’s advice to men and women about getting a mammography, &uot;Don’t be scared, whether you are a man or woman. Because it can save your life.&uot;