A diagnosis of breast cancer is tough enough, but when Linda and Jim Clauson both were diagnosed with the disease, it was unheard of.
A mammogram found Linda's breast lump five years ago, and she underwent a mastectomy to reduce her risk of recurrance. What shocked them even more was when Jim Clauson found a lump on his chest just six months later.
Male breast cancer is extremely rare. There were just 2,000 cases in the United States last year, but what worried Linda was that the death rate for men was nearly 50 percent higher than for women.
Experts say that's because men don't recognise the risk, and wait too long to have it diagnosed. At first, Jim didn't think it was cancer. He'd never heard of such a thing for men. But Linda, because of her experience, insisted he see a doctor. Soon after, Jim also had a mastectomy and chemotherapy.
Now, nearly five years later, the South Bend, Ind., couple remains cancer free, because both of them caught their cancers in the earliest, most curable stages. Early diagnosis is part of the message that Linda and Jim share with other cancer patients, as phone counselors for the National Breast Cancer Network of Strength.