Male breast cancer survivor emphasizes the importance of health checkups
While women are mostly known to develop breast cancer, men can also be diagnosed with the deadly disease. One survivor is teaching other men across the tri-state that true manhood comes from within.
Derek Perkinson's whole world turned upside down when he found out he had breast cancer. He was diagnosed in 2021 on his 50th birthday after already losing two loved ones to cancer.
"Right away, I thought of death. I thought of my demise. I thought really that it was over for me," he said.
Male breast cancer is rare and often diagnosed at later stages, when survival is more difficult. Experts say this is partly due to the stigma men face for having a so-called "woman's disease."
Perkinson's cancer was caught early enough that he was able to beat it through surgery and radiation, but not all men are so lucky.
"As men, we want to wait until the last minute. We want to wait until we can't stand the pain - then we're going go to the doctor and find the news or whatever the case, but we have to be more proactive and catch it before stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4," he says.
Now in remission, Perkinson is a pillar in the breast cancer community - participating in yearly walks, fashion shows and more across the tri state. He says the manliest thing a man can do is prioritize his health.
News 12 and Spectrum News NY1 are collaborating on a program to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month airing on Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. The 30-minute special will highlight cutting-edge research taking place in the tri-state area as well as underscore the importance of breast cancer prevention and detection.
Guides and resources:
- Learn about the 7 common symptoms and signs of breast cancer
- Resources to help those facing breast cancer, and their loved ones
- American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection of breast cancer
- Self-exam: 11 steps to check for breast cancer
- 8 places to get low-cost or free mammograms
- Getting a mammogram for the first time? Here are 19 things you should expect
- Breast cancer risks: What it means to have dense breasts