BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – For more than a decade, John Foulston has worked part-time with Butler County EMS.
“Most of our calls are medical as opposed to a trauma call,” said Foulston.
Three and a half years ago, he had his own medical scare.
“I stepped out of the shower and my wife was there, and I said to her this doesn’t look right,” said Foulston.
He noticed his left nipple was retracted or pushed in.
“She reached up and grabbed it, and she said there’s a lump in there,” Foulston said.
He had a mammogram, a biopsy and then was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was like why me,” said Foulston.
Foulston is one of the less than 1% of men who develop breast cancer.
He had a mastectomy to remove his left breast and three rounds of chemotherapy. He and doctors believe his family history may have played a part.
“My grandmother died of it. My mother, her daughter died of it, and she had a niece who died of it,” said Foulston.
Family history is one of the risk factors for male breast cancer. About one out of five men with breast cancer have a close relative, male or female, with the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Men who inherit the defective BRCA2 gene have an increased risk. After his diagnoses, Foulston’s doctors tested him for it but he did not have it.
“The oncologist said to me, I think your family must have another gene that causes breast cancer we just don’t know about it yet,” said Foulston.
Some other risk factors for men include radiation exposure, high levels of the hormone estrogen and heavy drinking.
Foulston’s now cancer free and urging men to be more aware of breast cancer and proactive about their health.
“We know our bodies and if we got something that isn’t right we ought to know it and we ought to get it dealt with,” said Foulston.
For more on the causes, prevention, and research on male breast cancer click here.