Get Pink: Men can get breast cancer

Anthony Merka holds a sign in this undated photo showing he's a three-year survivor of breast cancer at a recent Race for the Cure event. (photo provided)

Anthony Merka's story started four years ago with his wife and daughter trying to tickle him.

"She came over and started tickling me and at one point, got me to start laughing and about that time, she was like 'hang on just a second, I thought I felt something',” Merka said.

Merka waited almost six months before he decided he needed to see a doctor. His prognosis?

"Breast cancer.... I didn't think guys could get breast cancer.”

Anthony's grandmother died from that disease.

"Any of my children had a 50-50 chance of inheriting it from me and so they wanted to test my children. They tested all four of them - one of them came back positive - my daughter Angela... The only one that came back positive."

"I almost didn't want to believe it,” Angela Kolander, Anthony’s daughter said. “But at the same time it was, ‘ok, now we know. Now I can be proactive."

And the odds are not in Angela’s favor. Early detection is the key and Angela sees her doctor every six months, with no signs of cancer. As for men, the American Cancer Society estimates male breast cancer in the United States sees about 2,600 new cases diagnosed this year. Of that amount, about 440 men will die from the disease. Anthony beat the odds.

"There was no information when we started looking,” Lisa Merka, Anthony’s wife said. “When the doctor said it could be, we started to find research. Couldn’t find anything."

Anthony had a double mastectomy and he urges everyone, regardless of gender, to check for lumps, especially if there is a history of cancer in your family.

"I get to have my dad for a little longer and he was able to walk me down the aisle, so that was awesome," Angela said.

Just this month, Governor Mary Fallin signed a proclamation declaring the week of October 16 as "Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week."

Anthony also became one of Real Men Wear Pink Ambassadors with the American Cancer Society. He’s also raising money as well as awareness for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness through the Making Strides Campaign. If you’d like to donate, head here.

For more information about Male Breast Cancer, head to

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off