Rare breast cancer changes dad's life

SMALL business owner Simon Bardsley's first reaction when he found a lump in his left breast was to ignore it.

The 56-year-old noticed the small, hard mass when was having a shower in September last year.

"I tried to forget about it, which lasted probably two days," Mr Bardsley said.

His life and his approach to his health have changed markedly since he had the lump checked out by his GP.

"They clearly knew it was serious because they said it needed a biopsy."

The Kawana Island resident learned in the following days that he had a very rare form of aggressive breast cancer.

Breast cancer patient Simon Bardsley undergoes treatment supervised by Radiation Oncology Centres Maroochydore radiation therapists Ben Pyper and Robyn MacPherson.
Breast cancer patient Simon Bardsley undergoes treatment supervised by Radiation Oncology Centres Maroochydore radiation therapists Ben Pyper and Robyn MacPherson. Warren Lynam

He was told only 1% of breast cancer patients were men and that only 1% of breast cancer patients had his type of cancer, invasive papillary carcinoma.

A 40mm tumour was removed from his chest before he started six months of chemotherapy at Nambour General Hospital.

Mr Bardsley finished that and has since nearly completed radiation treatment.

That has involved daily visits to the Radiation Oncology Centres Maroochydore clinic for deep inspiration breath hold technique radiation treatment.

He was the clinic's first patient to undergo the style of treatment, which involved holding his breath for short bursts during radiation treatment.

It allowed his heart to move further away from the radiation fields directly above it.

Once his radiation is done, he expects to go onto medication for the next five to 10 years.

The entire process disrupted his life, but did not stop him from running the Aussie Skip Bags business he has been a Coast franchisee of for the past seven years.

His wife and children have supported him along the way.

He has started exercising more often than he did before the diagnosis and hardly drinks any alcohol.

His advice to other men during Men's Health Week was to be aware of changes and not ignore them.

"As you get older your health should become more of a priority," Mr Bardsley said.

"If you become aware of changes then it is critically important you go to see your doctor."

Radiation Oncology Centres Maroochydore manager Stephanie Price said while breast cancer in men was rare, it was still an important discussion topic.

"There are a lot of things in the media that focus on women," Ms Price said.

"Women are more open to talk about it."

She said she had treated men with breast cancer in her radiation treatment therapy career.

"It is up to men to be aware and check."



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