Local man encourages other men to take their breast cancer risks seriously

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By Tanae Howard

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 22, 2014)-- "He says 'I hate to do this over the phone but its breast cancer,' " said breast cancer survivor Darrell Skaggs.

An Army veteran, husband and father, Skaggs never thought a trip to the emergency room for an unrelated issue would lead to this rare diagnosis.

"I was like devastated- 'Whoa, this can't be happening to me. I've got 4 sisters, I was the only boy in the family and nobody else has it,'" said Skaggs.

Breast cancer in men make up 1 percent of all cancers. Even with that small number, doctors say men need to be aware.

"Often times its detected at a later stage than women.  We don't perform screening, mammograms on men routinely," said IU Health North Breast Surgeon, Dr. Kandi Ludwig.

Dr. Ludwig says screening for breast cancer in men is the same process as women, but men have to pay closer attention to their bodies to notice if something is wrong.

"New lumps or bumps that weren't there before. Any changes on the skin of the breast or nipple. Occasionally men will present with discharge from the nipple," said Dr. Ludwig.

After Skaggs' diagnosis he was ashamed and didn't even want to hear the word cancer. A year later his son encouraged him to speak up. He went on to be a model for the Ford Cares Warriors in Pink campaign. And he's now spreading encouragement to five other men around the country going through breast cancer through the American Cancer Society.

"It's been healing for me to be able to talk to them and let them know you got support and there's other guys out there who have been through it and you can do it.," said Skaggs.

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