“I was in a state of denial:” West Michigan man beats breast cancer, alerts others

Posted at 12:29 PM, Oct 28, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-28 21:35:04-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- It's a diagnosis no one wants to hear, and one that a man might not expect to get.

A West Michigan man has been cancer-free for more than a year, after battling breast cancer.

Gary Carey was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in the spring of 2013. He underwent a radical mastectomy and credits doctors, surgeons and the Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids for saving his life.

When Carey discovered the lump in his chest, he dismissed it and put off asking his wife about it for a couple of months.

But since she worked for NFL hall-of-famer Ernie Green, a breast cancer survivor himself, they didn’t waste any time.

“She called the doctor right away," remembered Carey.

"They had me in the next day. I had my operation within three weeks.”

Aging, family history, obesity - all are factors that can contribute to breast cancer in men.  However, Carey's genetic test came back negative.

As he sits in the Gilda's Club, the place he credits with helping him though his journey, Carey is now on a mission to alert others.

“I really want to emphasize that men, you have to do examination every month.”

According to the American Cancer Society, of the 2,360 men estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, 430 of those cases will likely be fatal.

Breast cancer is 100 times less common among men than women. The chances of a man developing breast cancer are about one in 1,000.