'I want people to know this isn't just a girl's problem' 

When John found a lump in his breast, he had no idea it was a sign of cancer. He tells us his story.

"My wife and I were a bit concerned when we discovered a lump in my breast, so we went to the doctor. He said it was probably scar tissue caused by contact sports (I'd done a lot of judo in the past).

"Around that time, I also noticed that my nipple had become inverted. It didn't worry me – I just thought it was something that happened when you get older and a bit overweight.

"A couple of years later, my wife read that an inverted nipple could be a sign of breast cancer. We phoned her cousin, who's a GP, and she told us to get it checked out. So we went back to my GP and I ended up having a needle biopsy. Surprisingly, it showed that I had breast cancer.

"Things happened very quickly after that. The following week, I was in hospital having a mastectomy (breast removal). While surgeons were removing the breast, they noticed that the lymph glands were cancerous, too, so they removed some of them from under my arm. The operation was straightforward and almost painless afterwards. I was released on the Saturday morning and went back to work on Monday.

"Then, a few months after the operation, I started chemotherapy. This was the real killer. It made me feel queasy all the time. I got really grumpy and was shouting at everyone. I had it once a week, for six months, followed by a course of radiotherapy.

"After the radiotherapy, they put me on a breast cancer drug called Arimidex (anastrozole) for five years. It's the same treatment for men as it is for women. My joints and muscles ached when I was on this medication, but these side effects disappear after you finish the course.

"I don't know what caused my breast cancer, although I've heard it can be hereditary, and my late mother had breast cancer. I'm all right now and my life is back to normal.

"The doctors got rid of my cancer just in time. I was very lucky. I couldn't fault the NHS. All the staff were superb. Even when I was going through chemotherapy and getting grumpy with everyone, they understood and weren't offended."

Page last reviewed: 24/03/2015

Next review due: 24/03/2017