Virginia man shares story of surviving breast cancer

Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 22:23:02-04

HURT, Va. - Frank Dalton calls it a gift.

“When I first found out I had it, I didn't know men could get it,” Dalton told News 3. “God looked after me and made sure I survived so I can tell other men about it.”

What he calls a “gift” is what he found in 2016 during a fishing tournament.

“A bunch of us were going to go out to eat, I took a shower, and I noticed a spot directly under my nipple that was hard,” he said. “It was like a rock.”

After weeks of tests and doctor visits, he got the news on December 7, 2016. He had been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

“When my wife and I sat down with the oncologist, he told me I was 6 months away from leaving this place. He said, if I had waited 6 months, there wouldn't have been anything he could've done for me,” Dalton said. “I went out, got in my truck and I sat there and cried for about 5 minutes. Then, I was like, ‘Okay, you got that out of your system. Now let's go.”

What followed was a little more than a year of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Dalton has been cancer-free since January 2018.

“I still have my good days and my bad days, but you go on with it,” he said. “It's just part of life.”

READ: News 3 Anchor/Reporter helping fight breast cancer through the Real Men Wear Pink campaign

The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States:

  • About 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 530 men will die from breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is about 100 times less common among white men than among white women. It is about 70 times less common among Black men than Black women.

As in Black women, Black men with breast cancer tend to have a worse prognosis (outlook).

For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833.

“I think that's the biggest stigma with men,” Dalton told News 3. “They think it's a female disease, but it's not.”

Which is why Dalton has been speaking up for men to check themselves and advocating for more male breast cancer resources.

“When I'm watching TV, my wife can tell you the same thing. A commercial will come on about breast cancer, or something, and it's all women. It's never men,” Dalton said. “The more I can get the word out, the more likely it is some man will see that it's okay if you have breast cancer. It's okay to talk about it. It's nothing to be embarrassed about.”

Throughout it all, he’s staying positive.

“It beats the alternative,” Dalton said. “I'd rather be 6 feet above than 6 feet under.”