St Vincent "Your Health": Men get breast cancer too

Over the years the awareness about breast cancer has increased exponentially, at least when we're talking about breast cancer in women. But when it happens in men, and it does happen in men, lack of awareness may be a concern.

It was nine years ago, when Obray Nunnley Jr's wife noticed something wrong.

"She said, there's a lump here. I thought she was joking but I saw she was serious," said Nunnley.

Nunnley jumped into action and it's a good thing he did.

"My cancer was about two weeks from going from stage one to stage two. And that's important because the key to defeating cancer is early detection," Nunnley said.

Within a week, Nunnley had a mammogram, a cancer diagnosis, and surgery.

Doctors say men like Nunnley are rare. Many don't know enough about breast cancer in men. And even if they do, they tend to not recognize it.

"So they find a mass, or a small lump and they think it's a cyst or pimple or something like that I don't have to worry about and men have an overwhelming tendency to not go to the doctor until someone really pushes them to it," said St. Vincent's Dr. Tonya Martin-Dunlap.

"A lot of it is just men being uneducated about breast cancer. They think it's a woman's disease. In fact I've had several women that debated with me that I had the disease long after I had the surgery," said Nunnley.

As for his cancer, Nunnley considers himself cancer-free and healthy. Now he says the key to staying that way is to stay stress-free.

"You deal with the things you can, you ask God to take care of the things you can't, and ask for the wisdom to know the difference."

Doctor Martin-Dunlap says while one in eight women will get breast cancer, one in 1000 men will get it, making it rare but possible.