Police officer encourages men to check themselves for breast cancer

Roy Collins met with five other men who have suffered with breast cancer
Roy Collins met with five other men who have suffered with breast cancer

A Sussex Police officer from Bexhill who was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago has joined forces with a cancer charity to raise awareness of how the disease can affect men.

Roy Collins, 63, a police community support officer (PCSO) at Sussex Police, met up with five other men who have all suffered from breast cancer, on Tuesday, to encourage men to check themselves regularly on behalf of Walk the Walk – a cancer charity that raises money through walking challenges.

Roy said: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011.

“My wife caught me getting out of the shower one day. She is a nurse and noticed that my nipple was inverted.

“I hadn’t been conscious of it and it certainly didn’t hurt. She sent me packing to the doctor’s and from there I was sent to the hospital for tests including a biopsy.

“My inverted right nipple had been caused by a lump behind the nipple, which my surgeon told me had been growing for probably six months. The lump measured around six centimetres by this time and the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes on the right hand side.”

Roy said he ‘didn’t know men could get breast cancer’ until his diagnosis in 2011.

This type of cancer affects around 350 men in the UK each year and a YouGov poll found 82 per cent of British men are aware they can get the disease, while 54 per cent of men have never checked their breasts for symptoms.

Roy added: “I certainly didn’t check myself. I work in a profession which is still predominantly male and it never ceases to surprise me how many men don’t know about male breast cancer.

“Every chance I get, I tell them why they should have a bit of a ‘grope’ and check themselves.

“At no point, did I think I wasn’t going to get through my cancer. I just knew I would beat it. The only difference now is that I have just one boob.

Roy and the five other men were brought together by Walk the Walk to tell their incredible stories for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Walk the Walk has organised The MoonWalk London for the past 21 years, where both men and women have been walking marathons at midnight wearing brightly decorated bras to help fund research into breast cancer in men and women and to help improve the lives of all those with cancer now.