CLEVELAND, Ohio — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while most of the marketing around detection and treatment focuses on women, it’s important to spread the message to men as well.
Daniel DiNardo of Youngstown was first diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 cancer in 2015.
“Your mindset is that, that’s not going to happen to me, that happens to other people. And then I find out it’s male breast cancer,” he says. “I never even knew that men could get breast cancer.”
Through his faith, as well as support from his wife and four children, DiNardo beat cancer.
In 2018, he celebrated being cancer free for two years. Months later, as he was suffering from pain in his hip, he received a stage 4 diagnosis because the cancer had spread.
“It’s kind of like climbing a mountain and reaching the summit and going, I made it right. Then all of the sudden they say, well no, you made it here, but there’s another mountain you need to climb."
Cleveland Clinic oncologist Halle Moore says about one out of a 100 breast cancer cases occur in men.
“Very often men present with a more advanced breast cancer because they might have a lump, but they may not really think it’s a possibility it represents breast cancer,” she says. “When breast cancer spreads to other organs like that, it’s usually not a curable situation, however people are living longer than ever before with the situation, it’s really more of a chronic disease at this point.”
Dr. Moore says risk factors can vary in men and women.
Men who have breast cancer have a higher likelihood of it being hereditary, but there are also many men who don’t have a risk factor and are diagnosed anyway.
She’s urging men to be aware of changes in their bodies and get checked.
As for DiNardo, he’s staying positive and hopes his story helps others.
“Unfortunately, it’s part of our life but it’s not our life,” he says.
“It opens my eyes to the bigger things in life, not the little things that used to derail us.”