WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- June 17th is Father's Day. William Brown will be spending that Sunday with his 8 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great-grand children. There's a lot to celebrate this year as this will be William's first Father's Day cancer free.
William Brown feels blessed everyday but especially on Father's Day. He's extremely proud of the 4 sons and 4 daughters he raised with his beloved wife Mary. They were married for 63 years.
At age 86, retirement from the State Department and the National Cancer Institute is spent fishing on the Chesapeake or at Cape Cod and volunteering at our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in SE.
Brown says, "I'm not one to sit around and wait for the man to catch me with the coffin."
Every Tuesday he's at the Parish Hall early for kitchen duty. He helps prepare lunch for 75 seniors, friends who regularly come out for line dancing, cards, and the good food.
William has only missed two days volunteering in nearly 20 years. He didn't even miss a day after he was diagnosed and treated for cancer -- invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.
When asked if he was aware that men could get breast cancer, he replied, "It never crossed my mind."
Breast cancer is less common in men but about 2100 new cases will be diagnosed this year, and more than 400 men will die from breast cancer.
Dr. Robert Warren, Co-Director of Lombardi's Ourisman Breast Health Center, explains, "They're not accustomed to thinking about examining their breasts. They don't do self examinations."
Warren says, "Men are often diagnosed with larger lesions and at later stages than women because they're not getting examined.
In Brown's case, he and his GP watched the lump in his breast for nearly 12 years.
"I started to feel a sensation and it got larger. And I told him we're gonna have to do something," shared Brown.
Luckily for William, his tumor was very slow growing. He had a mastectomy and his lymph nodes were clear. His only medicine is the drug Tamoxifen.
Dr. Warren tells us, "The Tamoxifen he's taking, he'll take for 5 years. It will reduce his risk of developing a distant recurrence or a new breast cancer."
Giving William Brown a lot more time to enjoy his family and go fishing.
The risk factors for male breast cancer include:
- Growing Older
- High Estrogen Levels
- Radiation Exposure, especially in adolescence
- Klinefelter Syndrome, having an extra copy of the X-chromosome
- A strong family history or presence of the gene mutation
To keep yourself and your Buddy in check, text BUDDYCHECK9 to 25543 for a monthly Early Detection alert sponsored by Washington Radiology Associates.