Breast cancer is common in women, but considered rare in men. So you can imagine the surprise when a man learned a lump on his chest was beast cancer. Then, it was even more of a shock when his wife was diagnosed, as well.
Ken and Jane Gremling will celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary in November.
“I would have never thought after dating three weeks and getting married that we would be married as long as we were,” said Jane. They were taking bets on how long it would last!
Naturally, the Gremlings have a lot of things in common, but never expected breast cancer to be one of them.
I said, “Darn it, we’ve shared everything for 47 years and now we’re sharing this? I said, this is getting a little scary,” said Jane.
In December of 2017 Ken found a lump in his right breast while showering. A few weeks later his nipple started bleeding.
“He (the doctor) came back and said the biopsy came back cancer”, Ken said.
Statistics show breast cancer impacts about one in eight women, but only one in 800 men.
It’s not that common but it happens – that’s the key, – men can get breast cancer, said Jame Abraham, M.D., Director of Breast Oncology at Cleveland Clinic.
Ken decided to have a mastectomy and just five months later Jane’s mammogram revealed a mass.
“We had our tumors exactly in the same place, in the same breast,” said Jane.
Jane also decided to have a mastectomy and found strength in her husband’s experience.
“I felt that if he was fine, that I was going to be exactly like him, because that’s what our whole life has kind of been like,” said Jane.
The Gremlings said they even have the same prescription now they’ll both be taking a pill for the next five years to reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
The only difference in their care? Jane opted to have reconstruction surgery after her mastectomy.
The couple is now cancer-free and says whether you’re a man or woman early diagnosis saves lives.
“Get your screenings, don’t get upset, just go and do what they tell you to do, because if you catch it early, you’re going to be fine,” Jane said.