Bakersfield man survives breast cancer; others are not as lucky

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and typically people associate breast cancer with women, but it strikes men too.

Fred and Donna Castro have walked hand in hand for 48 years, but like in any marriage, you go through ups and downs.

Six years ago, this couple met their battle.

"I happened to be taking a shower and the wash cloth slipped so I reached over to grab it and ran down my hand on the right side and noticed something there," said Fred Castro.

Castro felt a lump in his breast. The next week he went to his primary care physician.

"I showed him the lump and he felt it and said, 'It doesn't belong there,'" Castro said.

Castro's doctor gave him a specialist referral, but he wasn't expecting a breast cancer diagnosis.

"I was more embarrassed than afraid because I said, 'breast cancer in a male?" Castro said.

"It is not as common, one out of eight women will get breast cancer, but about one percent of all the cancers occur in men," said Dr. Ravi Patel.

The National Cancer Institute said more than 2,200 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and more than 400 will die.

Dr. Patel said as it applies to women, early detection is just as important in men.

"Any discoloration of the nipple, any lump, any swelling in the arm any unusual drainage or discomfort you feel around the chest area, particularly around the breast area is very relevant," Dr. Patel said.

Castro wears the pink ribbon as a breast cancer awareness supporter, and as a survivor.

"Us men need to become aware of this, that this can happen and don't try to be the macho man," Castro said.

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