Central Texas couple raises awareness on male breast cancer

Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 16:42:10-04

MOODY, Texas — About 300,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. 1% or about 3,000 of those cases being in men.

Moody resident Jason Williamson is one of those cases. He was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year after his wife, Janelle, felt a lump in his chest.

"She wrapped her arms around me and she felt it and she's like 'oh my God, what is that?' so we went to the doctor and here we are," he said.

"A lot of times women, when we find them, they might be marble-sized or something smaller," Janelle said. "This was actually three inches. It was a pretty good-sized tumor."

A single mastectomy and several rounds of chemo later, now Janelle and Jason raise awareness together on this very rare disease.

"Male breast cancer is the rarest form of cancer, like 1% of cancer," Jason said. "But when you take that 1% number and figure out the population of the United States, that 1% is actually a pretty large number."

"Relatively rare in men, of course, but about 2,500 men get diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States," Dr. Sripriya Santhanam with the Baylor Scott & White Cancer Center told 25 News. "Rare but can certainly occur since men also have breast tissue."

Breast cancer symptoms are similar in men and women. They can include a lump or swelling in the breasts, irritation of the skin, discharge or pain.

"Any lump that is either painful or progressively growing should alert a man to look for a cause," Dr. Santhanam said.

With male breast cancer being so rare and unknown. the Williamsons said they talk to anyone who will listen and encourage men to check themselves for any symptoms.

"We don't want anyone else to go through what we've gone through," Jason said. "I think it's just, honestly this was God's way of telling us to go out and spread the word."

Jason now faces eight rounds of chemo, then five weeks of radiation, and five years of cancer medication. Even with a long road to recovery, he's staying positive, strong, and optimistic.

"I don't really look at it as a long depressing journey," he said. "I look at it as I've got an eight-round fight ahead of me and at the end of it, there's a brass bell I'm going to ring and I'm going to ring that bell."