‘I didn’t think men could get breast cancer’

A MAN whose sisters, mother and aunt battled breast cancer can understand their fight better than most — after he was diagnosed with the same illness.

Martin White
Martin White

Martin White’s mother and two siblings have all had breast cancer and his aunt died of illness.

But it was still a shock when the 42-year-old found a lump in his own breast.

The town planner battled lymphoma as a teenager, but it was 18 months ago when he was given his second cancer diagnosis.

Breast cancer is rare in men and affects just 350 a year compared to 50,000 cases per year for women.

Mr White, of Hillsborough, Sheffield, said: “Despite the fact both my sisters, mum and auntie have all had breast cancer, when I found that little lump in my breast I still didn’t really think about it.

“Like many others, I didn’t associate breast cancer with males and it wasn’t until I saw a display in my local walk-in centre clinic that I realised the possibility of it affecting me.

“I thought it was a bit weird but when I saw the look on the doctor’s face I thought, ‘Maybe it is’.”

He was 17 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent surgery and radiotherapy at the city’s Weston Park Hospital.

He got the all-clear 18 months later and, despite missing lessons at school, he passed his A-levels and went on to have a successful career.

When he got the breast cancer diagnosis a quarter of a century later, he thought his luck had run out.

In 2006, his aunt, Clementine Moran, was diagnosed with breast cancer and despite treatment at Weston Park she sadly died. Just a year later, his mother Norah was also diagnosed, followed by both his sisters Claire and Georgina just a few years later.

He had tests to see if he carried a hereditary faulty gene which caused his cancer - but they came back negative. He said: “Our family is a good example of why trying to understand more about cancer is so important. It is better to develop a future where we can offer more preventative actions rather than rely on reactive treatment.”

He underwent chemotherapy and major surgery, and was given the drug Herceptin at Weston Park before being told his treatment had been successful.

Just three days after his treatment ended, his sister Claire was given the news her breast cancer had returned she had a mastectomy last week.

He now plans to run the Yorkshire Half Marathon in Sheffield on April 12 with his cancer specialist Matt Winter for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. To sponsor him, go to www.justgiving.com/martin-white10/.