Father’s fight against breast cancer
Gardener hopes health battle will inspire others
FATHER-of-two Andrew Tokely is one of just 300 men in the UK who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
The 45-year-old horticultural manager for Thompson and Morgan in Copdock was a healthy family man with a busy lifestyle when he was struck down by the disease nine months ago.
Statistics show that for every 150 people who are diagnosed with breast cancer, only one will be male.
Although now on the road to recovery, Mr Tokely, of The Street, Capel St Mary, spoke of his battle back to health in the hope it inspires others, and to stress it is not only women who are struck down by the illness.
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Mr Tokely, who is also BBC Radio Suffolk’s gardening expert, would also like to see more information tailored to men’s needs when it comes to explaining the diagnosis of breast cancer.
He said: “Every year there are around 45,000 cases of breast cancer in women, compared to 300 cases in men – making my condition rather rare, although it is a statistic I would rather not be.
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“The thing that surprises me is you go to the breast clinic and sit there among all the ladies, you have an ultra-sound, but every time you are given information it’s all geared towards women rather than men.
“Even when the surgeon says you have got to have a full mastectomy he uses a diagram with ladies’ breasts. I just think it is strange that we are a rarity, but everything you are given is geared towards a woman. I think it puts a man off.
“All I want to do is highlight men can get breast cancer as well as women.”
Mr Tokely has tackled his cancer positively and with humour, and is urging others to seek help as early as possible if they are worried after finding a lump on or around their breast.
He said: “Cancer is a horrible word. Although medicine has moved on a lot you hear the word cancer and think ‘crikey, I’m on the way out, here’. I consider myself lucky I found it early.
“I would say to others, if you find a lump get it checked out. They say 90% of lumps people find are nothing to worry about. It doesn’t have to be a lump. Another sign is when your nipple goes in.”
Mr Tokely has nothing but praised for the doctors and nurses who have helped him.
He said: “Ipswich Hospital is fantastic. I can’t praise the people in the breast clinic as well as in the chemotherapy area enough.”
Mr Tokely has kept a diary of his experiences, some of which he has shared opposite.