NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Mothers can pass along the risk of breast cancer to their daughters, but many forget that a father’s family history is just as important.
A new study reports that knowing your father’s history could help women get earlier screening and treatment.
Mike Story may look tough, but he melts when he talks about his wife, Kelly.
“You get goose bumps, I mean, it’s emotional,” Mike said. “I met her when we were kids.”
Mike and Kelly’s life together, raising their daughter Carly, seemed like a dream – until Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer at 46 years old.
“We knew that she probably had a less than five-year survival rate, because of where her breast cancer was in her body,” Mike said.
Mike supported the love of his life each step of the way through her two-year struggle, which ended just before Kelly’s 50th birthday.
“One thing that I’ll take with me to my grave – hopefully another 30, 40 years – is what my wife told me on her bed when she was dying: ‘you need to live your life no matter what gets thrown your way,’” Mike said.
Mike never could have imagined what was in store for him next, just as he and Carly were beginning to put the pieces of their life back together again.
“I was working out one day and I got out of the shower, and I felt a lump in my chest, simple as that,” Mike said. “I checked the other side of my chest – no lump.”
In the cruelest twist of fate, less than a year after losing Kelly, Mike was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer that had spread to his bones.
“Never in a million years would I ever have imagined that my dad would have breast cancer,” Carly said.
“I’ve never had any pain or discomfort there,” Mike said.
Breast cancer in men is relatively rare, accounting for less than one percent of all cases. The most common symptom is a firm, painless lump found just below the nipple.
Mike went to Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute to be treated by the same oncologist who treated Kelly.
Now it’s Carly’s turn to support her dad, just like Mike did for Kelly, and with her mother’s same sense of humor.
“She’s probably up there like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, cut these two a break,’” Carly said.
Mike will tell you his unlikely journey is an opportunity to save lives.
“Listen, breast cancer is all about women, but you know what? It affects men too,” he said.
Mike is feeling great, and he’s optimistic that his medications are controlling the cancer. Even though he’s diagnosed with stage four cancer, he’s determined not to become a statistic.