Although males account for only 1% of breast cancer cases, breast cancer still is a diagnosis faced by 2,350 men each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The lifetime risk for men of about 1 in 1,000 has remained stable over the past 30 years, and men have about the same rate of cure as women.
Some guys with breast cancer keep it quiet, feeling embarrassed to have a “woman’s disease.” But hairdresser Paul Dombroski, owner of Style Council in New Tampa, Florida, has gone public with this diagnosis, which he received in 2013. Before entering the salon industry, Dombroski spent six years in the NFL playing for the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s already proven that he’s tough.
Dombroski, 59, knew cancer was in his family. His father died of pancreatic cancer, and his mother and aunt are breast cancer survivors. When he felt a lump on his chest, he feared that the news wouldn’t be good. But he knew that getting treatment early would give him the best chance for a full recovery. He’s speaking out to encourage other men who notice a lump to overcome any embarrassment and go get it checked out. “Man up,” he’s quoted as saying. “I had to man up with breast cancer. If you suspect something you have to act on it.” His wife of more than 30 years is supporting Dombroski in spreading the message.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the most prominent risk factors for men are exposure to radiation, high levels of estrogen from liver disease or Klinefelter Syndrome and any family history of breast cancer—5% to 10% of male breast cancer is caused by hereditary factors.
Dombroski received treatment, and two years later he is doing well, with no signs of cancer. Leave it to a hairdresser to bring an important story out into the open!
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