Northampton

Breast cancer GP 'didn't think' he could get the disease

Mike Greenhalgh
Image caption Mike Greenhalgh said during his time as a GP he had never seen a case of male breast cancer

A retired male GP who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago said he "hadn't even contemplated" he could get the disease.

Mike Greenhalgh, from Abthorpe, Northamptonshire, who was a doctor for 27 years, said he had never seen a case of breast cancer in men.

The 63-year-old said he found it "difficult" being seen in a clinic with mostly women patients.

About 360 men in the UK are diagnosed each year, compared to 54,500 women.

According to charity Cancer Research UK, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women.

In contrast, it is not in the top 20 most common cancers in men.

Mr Greenhalgh explained that in 2014 he noticed he had a lump on the left side his chest.

"I didn't think too much of it to start with," he said, adding: "The majority of lumps aren't going to turn out to be cancerous."

Image caption Following his diagnosis Mr Greenhalgh retired

Initially he thought it might be side effect of medication he was taking but his GP, who had also never seen a case of breast cancer in men, referred him to a consultant for a biopsy.

He said he was "devastated" when he was diagnosed.

"I hadn't even contemplated that it might be breast cancer," he said.

Mr Greenhalgh has since had a double mastectomy and a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

He retired six months after his diagnosis.

Although he said he was not "embarrassed" by his diagnosis, he admitted he "found it difficult being seen in a clinic where I was the only man being treated".

Mr Greenhalgh added he had not met another man with the disease until be became involved with a breast cancer charity.

"I want to raise awareness that men do get breast cancer," he said.

"It's easy to check yourself, feel the chest wall on both sides, feel for lumps, feel for changes in the skin.

"If there is anything go and seek help."

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