VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The first time Wayne Lincoln felt a lump on his left breast he went into denial.
He didn’t consult a doctor about the mass until nine months later. By that time, the lump had become bigger and more painful.
“I’m feeling around, kind of pushing it and all of the sudden I got a sharp pain that just shot right through my chest. I said, ‘that’s not good,’” recalled Lincoln.
Lincoln, who has worked court security at the Norfolk Courthouse for three years, was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer a few days later.
“For me to be in denial for a little bit or to just shove it off, there’s going to be a whole lot more out there, a whole lot more,” said Lincoln.
In the three weeks since the 65-year-old’s diagnosis, he has started a $250,000 fundraising goal to raise awareness through blue and pink ribbons, brochures and television commercials.
“It’s weird that the word isn’t out there,” he said. “It is not religious specific. It’s not gender specific. It’s not race specific. It’s anybody can get it.”
Dr. Aaron Bleznak, a surgical oncologist with Sentara Healthcare, says he’s only diagnosed between 18-24 men with breast cancer in his 30 years in practice.
Dr. Bleznak says of the 300,000 breast cancer diagnoses each year, about 2,000-3,000 are men. That’s less than one percent.
“I think it’s something that men really don’t consider,” said Dr. Bleznak. “If men don’t think that it’s possible for them to get breast cancer then it’s a dangerous situation, because they are going to avoid obvious signs.”
Lincoln will undergo a mastectomy on Tuesday. His advice for other men: “Don’t be stupid! Men can wear pink, too.”
To donate to Lincoln’s awareness campaign, click here.
Dr. Bleznak says anyone with a mass that persists for more than two months should consult a doctor.