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'If you feel something, go do something' | Man who survived breast cancer shares story to help others catch it early

In 2021, about 2,650 men are expected to be diagnosed with the male breast cancer in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — David Luckin loves to talk about music. Most days you can find him in his studio at WJCT where he is station manager and host of the popular music program Electro Lounge.

Talking about his personal life is something he would rather not do. But he's sharing his story in hopes of striking a chord with men who may be reluctant to go to the doctor.

“I felt something. It just felt funny if I put on a shirt and rubbed up against it,” Luckin said. “I didn't think it was anything, so I did a mammogram.”

Initially doctors said there was nothing to worry about. However, a year later, a doctor wanted to take a closer look. Last December he had a biopsy. It revealed Luckin, who is in his 60s, had Stage 1 breast cancer.

“You think, ‘Oh, no,’ first, obviously. And then my feeling is, 'Okay, what are we going to do? I mean, let's get up. Let's move. There's no time to wallow. There's no time to feel sorry for yourself,'" Luckin recalled. 

His oncologist, Dr. Ilicia Shugarman with Cancer Specialists of North Florida, said male breast cancer is rare. Men who have a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer are at higher risk.

“Male breast cancer only accounts for 0.5% of all male cancer, so this is extremely rare," Shugarman explained. "As opposed to a woman who has a one in eight chance, a man has a one in 800 chance."

It's rare but also quite treatable and curable if caught early. Fortunately, male breast cancer is often found early because with less breast tissue, it's easier to find something abnormal. The cancerous lump or swelling is often painless.

“It felt like it was probably the size of like a thimble and it was hard,” Luckin said.

“If you've ever felt an abnormal lymph node, it kind of feels rubbery and firm. And if you try to, you know, to put it in your hand and move it around, it usually cannot be moved around,” Dr. Shugarman said.

She recommends men do monthly breast self-exams in the shower or lying down in bed.

“Lift one hand above, and then with your fingers, you would just kind of walk your fingers through amongst the breast tissue, especially over the nipple,” Dr.Shugarman said. “If the nipple is inverted or inwards, or you feel any lumps around the nipple area, that's where you would want to get evaluated further with a physician.”

Luckin says he followed the advice of his doctors. In January he had a mastectomy and in April started chemo.

“I had really good doctors and family," Luckin said. "Family is everything. My wife helped me through the hard times."

He is now taking oral hormone therapy.

“I would say right now he's cured of breast cancer," Shugarman said. "He no longer has breast cancer. And the treatment he's getting is to decrease the recurrence of the breast cancer and in about five years is when we consider patients in remission."

Through it all, David has focused on staying positive, grateful to be able to continue doing what he loves.

“My advice is if you feel something, go do something because someone else has got that same feeling,” Luckin said, “If I can help others, that's what it's about. I otherwise you wouldn't be here. I'd be playing you music and we wouldn't be talking about this."

For more information on male breast cancer, you can visit cancer.org.

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