Man says TV ‘saved his life’ after watching advert led to breast cancer diagnosis
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A simple TV advert turned out to be life-saving for 66-year-old Jim Allen after it urged him to check his pecs for lumps - leading to a stage three breast cancer diagnosis.
Deciding to give the check a go, Jim was surprised to find a 'pea-sized lump' sitting right in the middle of his chest.
At first, doctors dismissed the lump as a cyst - but in the following years, Jim lost six stone and the seemingly harmless lump started to grow.
"I didn’t think men got breast cancer, and certainly not in the middle of their chests, so I wasn’t too concerned," said Jim.
"However, when I lost weight three years later in 2018, the hidden cyst became a red-looking, round lump.
"I went back to the doctor who removed it and sent it for a biopsy."
When the results came back, Jim was shocked to learn that he had male breast cancer.
Jim immediately began treatment, getting a mastectomy to remove his left 'breast', having the lymph nodes in his left armpit removed, undergoing three weeks of radiotherapy, and taking an oestrogen blocker called Tamoxifen.
Jim will have to take the drug, that makes him feel like 'a menopausal woman' for five more years.
While he can't say enough about how 'amazing' the cancer ward was, Jim admitted that the whole experience has been a little 'lonely' since he didn't have any male companions who could relate.
"I never met any men going through breast cancer," he shared.
"There are quite a few support groups for women, and maybe men in general are less talkative about medical problems. It made me feel really lonely.
“Maybe men might find it embarrassing to talk about breast cancer and put off this sort of thing.
"I think we need to get men talking about it, checking for signs and doing something about any worries they have."
Jim is now entering a fashion show in The Show by Breast Cancer Now this April to raise awareness of male breast cancer.
"I get it, I didn’t know you could get breast cancer as a man either," he admitted.
"If as a man you find a cyst on your chest, get it checked.
"It could be something else - you never know."
You can take a virtual front-row seat on 20 April to watch Jim take to the catwalk and find out how you can help make sure that by 2050, everyone diagnosed with breast cancer lives and lives well.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week