Man shares personal story of battle with breast cancer

Getting checked right away is exactly what Richard Robinson did when he found a lump. But he didn't think he had breast cancer.

As a man, he says it didn't even cross his mind.

That's why Robinson says it's so important for him to share his story. It's all part of a campaign called 'Real Men Wear Pink.'

Richard Robinson knows that when people think of breast cancer survivors, they wouldn't picture him.

"Women are like 'wow' men are like 'really you have breast cancer?' Men don't realize that you can get breast cancer. All men are aware of prostate cancer - a lot of them do get their prostates checked regularly and do not know how many men per year get breast cancer," he said.

According to the American Cancer Society women get breast cancer by far greater numbers. More than 246,000 women are expected to get diagnosed this year, and more than 40,000 women will die.

But men get breast cancer too. There are 2,600 cases expected in 2016 and 440 deaths.    

But Robinson says men aren't even looking for the signs.

"Every day I get up and I think about the people who didn't make it because a lot of men don't make it because they don’t' know the signs. I got lucky because it came to the surface. I think about what would have happened if it hadn't come to the surface." He added women are taught to do self-exams and he wouldn't have known what to look for.

Robinson says his lump literally woke him up one day.

"In January of 2011 I woke up one morning on a long weekend. It was Sunday and there was a lump in my chest. I looked down and there it was," he said. "It was very obvious it was the size of a Ping-Pong ball sticking it out of my chest . It was not there the day before - my wife says 'what is that?' I said, 'I don't know.'"

At first more than one doctor said it was likely a cyst. He wasn't worried and then the phone rang - it was his doctor.

"He's like 'did anyone call you yet?' And I said 'about what' and he said 'you have breast cancer' and I said 'excuse me?'

"I looked at my wife and she was shaking. I said 'just relax its going to be OK. It's my birthday, it's the long weekend, there's nothing we can do. I planned to have fun - we are going to have fun.' It was my 52nd birthday."

Robinson's mom says breast cancer never entered his mind.

"I knew men could get breast cancer somewhat but I didn't think about it. My mom had breast cancer. She's a survivor. She got breast cancer in 95. She went through it - she survived. I didn't think about getting breast cancer. I worried about my wife getting breast cancer, my daughter getting breast cancer - not about me getting breast cancer," he said.

He was lucky he caught it early. But he still underwent a double mastectomy and is still on medication. "It was Stage 2. It had not spread to the lymph nodes yet... the surgery was very intense. The double mastectomy was hard. What was harder was the chemo. That was very hard. I'm still suffering from that in my feet."

Now he is raising both money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.

He's trying to raise awareness by participating in the Making Strides Real Men Wear Pink campaign and telling his story..

He says even if he saves one person - it's worth it.