TAMPA, Fla. -- Despite what most of us take for granted, women aren't the only ones who should worry about breast cancer. It strikes men as well. Catching it early is critical, but most men don't even consider they could have it, let alone watch for it.
Paul Dombroski pushed his body to the limit.
To reach the top.
Not only did he make it to the NFL, the former Buccaneer was a two-time player of the year for the Patriots ... then breast cancer lined up against him.
"I was yawning, and I lifted my arm up and I ran my hand across my chest and I felt a lump and immediately I knew it was breast cancer," Dombroski said.
He was shocked, but right.
"Now I'm going get a mammogram? So first thing I do with the tech is how do I get this into that," continued Dombroski.
The tumor was detected and removed early - good news for Dombroski. But he still worries about other men.
"We can call it your chest, you can call it your pecks. They're breasts," explained Dombroski.
Nicole Figueredo, MD, Florida Hospital, says men's breasts are built much the same way women's are. In 2018, more than two thousand men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
"Unfortunately, a lot of men with breast masses fail to go to the physician. That leads to breast cancer in men being diagnosed at later stages," Dr. Figueredo said.
Here's what to watch for: a firm lump behind the nipple, an itchy scaly rash, any change in shape or size, an inward pulling of the nipple. Thanks to his vigilance and preparation, Dombroski can list professional football player and breast cancer survivor on his resume.
Dr. Figueredo says sometimes breast cancer in men could be confused with benign breast development due to hormone change. Treatment in men is similar to women. Dombroski is working with Dr. Figueredo to create a more unisex environment to avoid female stigmas that surround breast cancer.