Anthony Galasso of Hicksville was in shock when in 2004, at the age of 51, he was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a small lump. “I thought it was a calcium deposit. I never in my wildest dreams thought it might be cancer because it doesn’t run in my family,” he says.
Recovering from a radical mastectomy was a painful experience. Because of complications from his asthma, healing took longer than he anticipated, but he had strong support from his wife and two children. “Just talking about it with them when I was having a bad day helped me cope,” he says. He also tried to maintain a normal lifestyle, playing golf whenever he felt well enough and working at his job as a waiter at Mitch & Toni's American Bistro in Albertson.
Now that he’s a survivor, Galasso takes advantage of his position at the restaurant to spread the word about male breast cancer to anyone willing to listen. “I tell them make sure you get checked out. You don’t hear men can get it too,” he says. While male breast cancer isn’t common, it accounts for approximately 1% of breast cancer cases in the United States.
“That’s why I want to share my story as much as possible,” he says, “to try to get the word out to people.” Maybe it will help somebody with early diagnosis, he adds.