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MN Man Gets Breast Cancer, Learns Men Are Not Immune

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One in every 100,000 breast cancer patients is a man. It's very rare, but it's something many men don't talk about or even ask their doctors about.

Bill Riegert is just glad his wife's persistence made him ask his doctor about it.

Riegert, who doesn't have a history of breast cancer in his family, was diagnosed with breast cancer after he noticed a small bump on his chest.

Two doctors told Riegert the small bump on his chest was nothing to be concerned about.

'It was a bump. It started to increase in size a little bit, and I started to wonder about it a little bit, even though they told me it wasn't anything," Riegert said.

Life changed for Riegert when he went with his wife to her doctor for her annual mammogram.

Riegert's wife, LuAnn Reigert, said she just asked the nurse to talk to her husband. When the nurse said something about the possibility of cancer, the couple went to see a radiologist, and he told Riegert to get it looked at. So Riegert went to the Piper Cancer Center, where doctors gave him a physical and used a mammogram machine to determine if his bump was cancer.

"Mammograms can be extremely accurate both to discover a cancer also to rule out cancer," said Dr. John O'Leary, who worked with Reigert.

Doctors caught the cancer early, and a week later they had Riegert in surgery.

"He did a mastectomy take the lymph nodes to check that and I was very lucky," Riegert said.

After The Cancer

Riegert is now on a mission to spread the word about breast cancer and how men are not immune.

"I play golf a lot. I play with my golf partners, and one guy said why do you wear your watch on your right hand. I said, 'Well, because I had breast cancer, and I had lymph nodes taken out,'" Riegert said.

He has even taken part in the Breast Cancer Awareness Association's Sense of Style Show to let the world know he, too, is a breast cancer survivor.

"I want as many guys to know … it's something you should think about also during your regular physical examinations," Riegert said.

Riegert said without his wife's persistence he never would have went to the doctor to be checked out.

O'Leary said men should pay special attention to their breast beginning at the age of 50.

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