A British man with breast cancer says he was denied entry into a Facebook support group because he was a man.
“I tried to join a support group on Facebook,” 55-year-old David McCallion of Manchester told the Daily Mail on Feb. 24. “But they sort of politely told me that because I was a man it might prevent members from opening up – so I thought it was best that I didn’t join. I was effectively declined membership.”
“I was made to feel like I was muscling in, but the last thing I wanted to do was jump up and down saying, ‘Look at me I’ve got breast cancer too,’” he told the British tabloid Metro.
Breast cancer in men is extremely rare, according to the non-profit Breastcancer.org. Less than 1 percent of all breast cancers occur in men.
In Britain, about 380 men are diagnosed each year resulting in 80 deaths.
“I will never be the same person I was before my diagnosis,” McCallion said. “Cancer is lonely, full stop. But being a man in what I call the ‘pink world’ of breast cancer – that’s even lonelier.”
McCallion’s experience contradicts the notion put forth by some feminists that gender stereotypes only adversely affect women.
In September, a Michigan father said he was denied entry into shelters after he and his five children were left homeless after his wife left them.
The Michigan dad said he couldn’t find a shelter that would take men with kids.
McCallion, a father of two and grandfather of two, was diagnosed in 2015 with gynaecomastia, a condition that causes men’s breasts to become larger than normal.
Last April, he noticed his right nipple was inverted and thought it must be linked to the condition.
He returned for further tests.
“Twenty minutes after the biopsy the doctor said that, in his opinion, there was a 99 per cent chance it was going to be cancer,” McCallion said.
He returned a few days later with his wife.
“For the next eight minutes everything the doctor said was addressed to my wife and, in the end, I had to tell him to talk to me and not to her,” McCallion said. “He explained that he breaks this news to women day in day out, which is why he didn’t address me at first.”
He required a full mastectomy of his right breast, which he had in September following his 30th wedding anniversary in August. That was followed by chemotherapy, which is scheduled to continue until the end of March.
Since his surgery, he has discovered the #bluegetittoo awareness campaign about male breast cancer, started by a woman whose partner was diagnosed with the condition.
- David McCallion.: Screen grab