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Local Husband, Wife Both Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

5:48 PM, Nov 11, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hats off to Steven Noack for showing his scar.  And hats off to his wife for doing Buddy Check -- not just for her, but for them both.

Janet and Steven Noack are the first husband-wife Buddy Check 12 success story in almost 20 years since the breast cancer sel-f-exam program began.

The couple, married for 16 years, lives in the Julington Creek area.

Last August, Steven Noack was reclining in bed and he brushed up against a hard knot in his chest. It felt like a pea, said his wife, but smaller.

But by October, the lump was larger.  

Janet Noack said she kept thinking about the Buddy Check reminders so they sought medical advice.

There were two doctors he consulted that did not suggest a mammogram or the fact that men get breast cancer, too.

It's rare, of course, but possible for men to get breast cancer. Out of 100 cases, one is male.

Finally, the couple went to Dr. Craig Morganthal, the head of general surgery at Baptist. He sent Steven Noack to be tested.

Noack was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 1, and had a mastectomy.

Then the couple found out that, as Janet Noack said, "Lightning does strike twice."

She got a mammogram, and the next day was in a parking lot when the phone call came.  "I took a deep breath and went, 'Oh, my God,'" she said.

But the couple stayed their usual spunky selves, riding their motorcycles, spiking their hair and laughing.

Now they are celebrating survivorship. He's 47 and she's 43.

Janet encouraging everyone to do Buddy Check 12, including men. The idea is to catch breast cancer early. "It's a snip and a clip, and then you're moving on with life," she said.

Morganthal said it might just be coincidence both husband and wife wound up with breast cancer, especially in the same year.  He said he checked medical literature and found only a handful of such cases in the entire country.

The surgeon said men should pursue a doctor who takes lump seriously. Typically male breast cancer is caught later than female breast cancer, he said but -- when treated -- the outcomes can be the same.

If you'd like a free Buddy Check 12 kit, just call Baptist at 904-202-CARE.

First Coast News

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