Can men get breast cancer? Father of two shocked by diagnosis of small lump

A father of two diagnosed with breast cancer on Christmas Eve 2019 first noticed a pea-sized lump on his nipple in 2016.

Danny Goss, from Victoria, went for an ultrasound at the time and doctors told him it was “just a cyst” and “nothing to worry about.”

But three years later, the tiny two-inch lump remained, so Danny thought it best to go back to the doctor where he got the shock diagnosis.

This decision likely saved his life as cancer cells began to spread throughout his body, sparking a battle he continues to fight today.

“I didn’t know men could get breast cancer — I thought men were safe from it,” the 46-year-old IT manager told FEMAIL.

Danny Goss, of Victoria, first noticed a pea-sized lump on his left nipple in 2016 and an ultrasound showed it was “just a cyst” that was “nothing to worry about” (Photo: Danny, left, visiting Sydney with his family)

But three years later, the tiny 2cm lump still wasn't gone, which motivated Danny enough to have it checked again.  After the second ultrasound in 2019, Danny got a call and was completely stunned to hear the words 'breast cancer' (pictured with wife Belinda)

But three years later, the tiny 2cm lump still wasn’t gone, which motivated Danny enough to have it checked again. After the second ultrasound in 2019, Danny got a call and was completely stunned to hear the words ‘breast cancer’ (pictured with wife Belinda)

After the second ultrasound in 2019, Danny was stunned by the dreaded ‘you have breast cancer’ phone call.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all and felt like everything was going to be okay because it was already fixed before — it’s never a good day to find out you have cancer,” he said.

“I was confused because I didn’t know how common it is in men. Fortunately the cancer was at an early stage when I was diagnosed.’

In Australia, breast cancer is the second most common cancer, with 57 people diagnosed every day, the majority of whom are women.

Every year in Australia, about 150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, mostly over the age of 50.

Danny said the small lump was his only symptom, it didn’t hurt to the touch, and he has no family history of breast cancer.

On Christmas Day, Danny had

On Christmas Day, Danny had “a million thoughts and so many questions” running through his head. “Because of the holidays, I couldn’t rest until mid-January – it was a couple of anxious weeks of waiting,” he said.

After a visit to the doctor, Danny had a biopsy and further scans to confirm it was cancer and then started chemotherapy for six months in February; luckily he had few side effects.

“I lived a healthy lifestyle, stopped smoking and drinking, eat right and exercise when I can,” Danny said.

“Unfortunately, it got worse because the cancer was found in two lymph nodes, making it more likely to spread elsewhere.”

He also had a mastectomy to “cut out a piece of tissue” and remove some lymph nodes under his arm.

Danny then received five weeks of radiotherapy, which was ‘a lot easier than chemotherapy’.

What are the signs of breast cancer in men?

Symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those in women and include:

  • a breast lump
  • thickening of the breast tissue
  • dimples in the skin of the breast
  • change in breast or nipple shape
  • a discharge from the nipple
  • a painful area
  • swollen lymph nodes in the armpit area

Source: cancer.org

In the six months that followed, Danny felt “a lot better” and doctors thought they had removed all traces of the cancer.

But in July 2021 Danny’s hip started to get sore and although he wasn’t worried, he went to the doctor ‘just in case’.

Scans discovered two cancerous spots on his hip and shoulder bones, forcing Danny to take another massive blow.

“It felt like I was back on day one, but the prognosis was much worse,” he said, adding that he had to stop himself from “Googling” everything.

High-dose radiotherapy to the hip and shoulder followed, along with another bout of chemotherapy.

Today Danny is not yet ‘in the clear’, takes three evening pills daily and receives injections once a month in the hope of completely killing any remaining traces of cancer.

Danny had chemotherapy and radiotherapy which he thought had cured the cancer, but sadly, in July 2021, doctors discovered it had spread to his shoulder and hip.  High-dose radiotherapy to the hip and shoulder followed, along with another bout of chemotherapy (pictured with his daughter)

Danny had chemotherapy and radiotherapy which he thought had cured the cancer, but sadly, in July 2021, doctors discovered it had spread to his shoulder and hip. High-dose radiotherapy to the hip and shoulder followed, along with another bout of chemotherapy (pictured with his daughter)

“It all looks really good now,” Danny said.

“During my checkups, doctors measure tumor markers in the blood and mine kept rising for the past few months, then suddenly fell away, which is great to hear.”

Despite having cancer, Danny has continued to work and took a 70km walk over five days in Tasmania in December with his daughter and extended family.

Today Danny is not yet 'free' and he takes three evening pills daily and gets injections once a month in the hopes of completely killing any remaining traces of cancer.

Today Danny is not yet ‘free’ and he takes three evening pills daily and gets injections once a month in the hopes of completely killing any remaining traces of cancer.

Danny hopes his story can inspire other men to be diligent with health checks and raise awareness that men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’m so glad I got examined when I did. Sometimes I think what would have happened if I hadn’t gone back,” he said.

‘I knew something was wrong because the lump hadn’t gone away; I thought “this isn’t right”.

“Even if the results were flawless the second time around, I would have had it removed just to be safe.”

Leave a Comment