Based on the statistics, Dr. Oliver Bogler couldn’t imagine that his suspicions were true. He’d found a lump in his chest but knew that male breast cancer is “so rare, it’s statistically quite improbable,” he said.
Bogler, a scientist who spent much of his career researching brain tumors, depends on numbers and data. So even as his suspicion of breast cancer began to gnaw, he wondered if it was all in his head.
“I prevaricated several months [after finding the lump],” he said. He’d supported his wife, Dr. Irene Newsham, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just five years earlier but yet, “I couldn’t think of how to broach the subject with [her].”
In the U.S., “men with breast cancer make up ½ to 1 percent of breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Julie Gralow, a breast cancer researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington who also treats breast cancer patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “But even so, several thousand men each year are affected.”