FDA calls for more men to be included in breast cancer drug trials

By  | 

NEW YORK (CBS) Breast cancer is often thought to be a woman's cancer, but men also get it. Now the FDA is calling for more men to be included in clinical trials for breast cancer drugs.

Chef Peter Botros is the owner of several thriving New York City restaurants. Seven years ago he dealt with something most men never think about.

"I thought it had to be a mistake," Botros said. "Just trying to put the pieces together of how a 26 year-old man could have breast cancer."

He was diagnosed after noticing a bloody discharge from his nipple. It was a devastating blow after losing his mother to breast cancer when he was just 14 years old. "She had cancer pretty much my whole life. On and off she had beat it and it came back, beat it and it came back," Botros said.

Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for less than one percent of all breast cancers. Now the FDA is issuing new recommendations to include men in breast cancer studies to better understand the disease.

"We surprisingly don't know that much about male breast cancer. We have a little bit more knowledge than we did 10 years ago, but some of the issues have been because we don't actually have a lot of male breast cancer patients to study... many times they are not included in clinical trials," said Dr. Ben Park, Co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Men's treatment is usually based on data collected on women. Dr. Park says men in families with breast cancer need to be included in the conversation. "If they have strong family history and there are women with breast cancer in that family, they should also undergo genetic testing and counseling and screening.

Botros had a double mastectomy and remains cancer free. He named this restaurant after his beloved mother.

Reporter Hillary Lane: What would your mom say if she saw the restaurant?
Peter Botros I am going to cry... She would love it. It's beautiful. It's exactly her style.

He says he shares his story to help get rid of the stigma, to let men with breast cancer know they shouldn't feel ashamed or alone.

Cases of breast cancer are usually more advanced in men by the time they are diagnose because men are not aware they can get the disease.