Tony Pottorff is very open with his students about his battle with breast cancer.
It’s his way of using his life as a lesson.
“Guys, men in general are probably thinking it’s a woman’s disease,” said Pottorff.
In hopes of changing that type of thinking, Tony posted a message to his friends and family on Facebook encouraging them to get any suspicious lump checked out immediately.
It’s something he did not do.
“I had a lump, oh gosh maybe 9 months to a year—Being a guy, truthfully I didn’t think it would be breast cancer,” said Pottorff.
Unfortunately, he was wrong.
By the time doctors caught his cancer it had spread to his lymph nodes, a hip, and both lungs.
“Right away I started thinking do I have weeks? Do I have months?” said Pottorff.
About 2,500 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
In comparison, 250,000 women are diagnosed annually.
“Most people associate breast cancer with women—so men don’t want to talk about having breast cancer,” said Dr. Ruemu Birhiray, an Oncologist at St. Vincent Hospital.
Just talking about this deadly disease may not be enough though.
“You want to use the flat of your hand, and you want to go around the breast,” said Dr. Birhiray.
Doctors say men should also perform self-breast exams regularly, and be as open and honest as possible about their experience.
“Be very transparent about it, you will be shocked how much people will support you. Care for you, love you,” said Pottorff.