It was 1998. Ft. Worth gynecologist Dr. Alan Johns had just returned from a run. He saw it in the mirror. "Saw my right nipple was inverted. To a gyno I knew nipple inversion was breast cancer. I knew right away what it was. in that instance I switched from surgeon and gynecologist to patient."
And like many of his patients, Johns went into denial.
"I did stupid things for 3 months before I finally to realizing that I had to get it checked out."
He asked a radiologist friend to biopsy his breast--and sure enough, it was cancer--ductal cell carcinoma--the most common form in men - and highly curable if caught early. Treatment followed.
"I had a mastectomy, then chemo. Still have a mammograms, have had hot flashes from tamoxifen for five years."
He says the experience changed everything. "I'm fully in touch with my feminine side now."
Dr. Johns published a book called "The Lump" to share his story with other men. "Something you may notice around the nipple or the skin, or the breast overlying the muscle that will give you a hint about what's going on."
He says having breast cancer has made him a much better doctor. "Changed 180 degrees the way I approach patients."
And he says, if you've been diagnosed with male breast cancer--talk about it. Starting now.
"I would encourage you to call anyone of us. There are hundreds of us around the country who've gone public. Let us talk to you and help you through it."