When Seamus Bennett become recognized with breast cancer, he was taken aback. He tells Joy Orpen he had no concept that men may want to fall victim to this form of most diseases. But having had a mastectomy, he is now doing nicely again


What does Portmarnock resident Seamus Bennett have in commonplace with TV personality Sharon Osbourne, and actors Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Angelina Jolie and Kathy Bates? He, like all of them, needed to go through a double mastectomy. That guy can even get breast most cancers comes as a complete wonder to the majority. But regrettably, now not see you later ago, Seamus discovered himself in that unenviable function. Nonetheless, he has chosen to speak brazenly approximately his hard ordeal so that other guys’ lives may be spared, and because he is so thankful to all the nurses and docs involved in his healing.

Seamus’s ordeal started in August 2017, while the seatbelt in his vehicle started chafing the left facet of his chest. Then, weeks later, he felt a lump in the breast location, so he went to his GP, who referred him to the Beaumont Hospital Breast Centre. “I become surprised,” says Seamus. “But the health practitioner said at the same time as breast most cancers in men changed into unusual; it wasn’t unheard of. He stated approximately 20 males present with it in Ireland every year.”

Just five days later, Seamus had a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy. A week then, he and his wife, Judy, met representative general practitioner Colm Power, who confirmed that Seamus had breast cancer.

“He was additionally concerned – given that there may be strong records of breast most cancers in my circle of relatives, and the reality that I changed into a male with breast cancer – that I may want to have a BRCA [genetic] mutation. If that was the case, he advised I is probably higher served by a double mastectomy, because the probabilities of a breast cancer on the alternative side were as excessive as 40pc,” Seamus says, including, “He was also of the opinion that I might likely need chemotherapy, and, maximum probably, radiotherapy.”

This turned into all earth-shattering news for this seventy three-yr-old father of four. “I became completely shocked,” he says. “I had always been careful to have checked every year to perceive if I was going to get prostate most cancers. But to be honest, I by no means concept breast most cancers may want to develop inside the male. I determined, at that meeting, I could have a double mastectomy. I felt, in preference to going through the ache two times, I would rather undergo all the struggling at the only time.”

Seamus, who is commonly talking, pretty reticent, additionally decided to speak openly approximately this tough time in his life. “I’d seen others who’d had cancer who did not speak approximately it, and I did not think that helped them,” he explains. “Within an afternoon or two, we had told the circle of relatives, who were very greatly surprised.”

A fortnight later, Seamus becomes admitted to the medical institution. When he got here round from the anesthetic, he changed into somewhat disorientated. He additionally realized that it wasn’t his chest vicinity that bothered him, but his decrease lower back.

“They thought that is probably due to the hardness of the operating table,” says Seamus. “But that soon disappeared.” He additionally needed to get used to the reality that he had drains in each breast. They were had to save you a construct-up of fluid that could hinder restoration and to prevent contamination. Once he became discharged from the health center, Seamus had to go back every few days to have the web site drained.

Following surgical treatment, which additionally entailed the removal of some of the lymph nodes, also issues have been raised approximately the possibility that Seamus had inherited a defective gene, referred to as the breast most cancers BRCA gene. Having BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 means there is a significantly elevated danger of growing this form of most cancers. While Seamus became taken aback, he wasn’t surprised. “Cancer is very normal in my overdue father’s huge family,” he volunteers. “Probably half of them died from cancer.” He is presently undergoing genetic testing to get new perception into the problem.

He also found out that 25 of the 30 lymph nodes eliminated at some stage in the surgical procedure have been diseased, so he needed to begin chemotherapy as quickly as viable. Specialist oncologist Patrick Morris provided him types of remedy, and he chose the more aggressive technique because it turned into deemed to be the “Rolls Royce” of most cancers remedies.

Once it began, Seamus struggled. “I observed it very difficult,” he admits. “I lost my urge for food for all sorts of meals, and I couldn’t sleep. I’d sit down at the table. However, I could not consume dinner. So I’d need to come again later and attempt once more.” He did so due to the fact he has been warned that he must do his very careful not to lose an excessive amount of weight, as that would impact on his restoration. Following four months of chemotherapy, Seamus got a two-week wreck before starting radiotherapy five days every week for five weeks, beneath consultant radiation oncologist Clare Faul at St Luke’s Centre at Beaumont Hospital.

Then one Sunday, per week into the treatment, he felt fluid building up in his ears, so he consulted an emergency medical doctor, who prescribed medication. Later that day, Judy went out on an errand. When she again some hours later, she found her husband in a coma at the ground.

Having referred to as emergency services, Seamus turned into rushed to Beaumont Hospital, where he changed into in no time diagnosed with meningitis. A thick line becomes inserted in his neck to make without a doubt certain drugs had to save his life were introduced competently. Seamus woke up two days later. He was feeling pretty well, given that he’d been at death’s door. “I in no way realized you might die without knowing it,” he says enigmatically. He says his healing may additionally have been assisted through the fact that as an “added precaution,” his GP had given him a shot of vaccine to save you pneumonia while he became giving him his flu jab. “I become informed that likely decreased the impact of meningitis,” says Seamus. So for a subsequent couple of weeks, he turned into ferried from his bed in Beaumont Hospital to St Luke’s Centre to finish his essential radiotherapy.

And even though Seamus ought to rarely stroll following meningitis, he’s now up and about, looking relatively in shape and healthful. This entire enjoy has undoubtedly been difficult and existence-converting for him and his circle of relatives. But what is very apparent is the gratitude he feels.

“The remedy I were given at Beaumont was second to none,” he says emphatically. “The porters, physios, nurses, doctors, and experts had been all surely notable, in both the personal and the public sectors. They sorted me brilliantly. But what most impressed me, turned into the empathy that they have for sufferers – it’s quite exceptional.”

Beaumont Hospital Foundation has released a €1m fundraising appeal to finish a standalone breast sanatorium. To guide the campaign, see beaumontfundraising.Ie