BRANSON, Mo- As a man, breast cancer isn’t a diagnosis you expect. William “Dub” White is used to fighting, but he never thought he’d have to fight again after retiring from nearly 30 years on a variety of battlefronts.
Dub is a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4). In his tenure in the Army, he served in Vietnam and finished during Desert Storm.
Since he retired White founder of Veterans Military Coalition of the Ozarks. He helps veterans and their families get assistance wherever they need it.
Battling the Breast Cancer
It wasn’t until around May 2018, White’s life changed during the oddest time of day.
“I’ve been outside working and I had a dark t-shirt on and I was extremely sweaty and extremely hot and because of the thyroid issue I’m sort of heat intolerant,” Dub said. “So I go in the house and it felt like somebody just stabbed me with an ice pick right there,”
Dubs is a survivor of thyroid cancer he got a few years ago.
After a hot and painful day of working in the summer heat, he goes on to say he took a shower and found a lump in his left breast.
He then gets to the doctor who verifies that he did have a mass. The doctor then booked him to get a mammogram.
“Walked in, I’m standing there I talked to my wife and she goes ‘oh it’s him’ and everyone goes ‘ah!'” says Dub.
He got both an ultrasound and a mammogram, the mammogram was kind of difficult he says.
“Men don’t have breasts per se like that, so the lady she goes, ‘I’m going to push you into this machine!’ I think she put four or five people behind me, I mean she was trying to ram me into that machine,” says Dub.
A week after the mammogram he found out that the mass was positive for cancer. He was scheduled to have a surgical procedure to get the mass removed the same day the Ride the Ducks in Branson sank.
His doctor pushed the time of the surgery back but still went through with it. Dubs got a double mastectomy because he did not want to have any chance of cancer coming back.
He says the doctor told Dub and his family that they got it all and the cancer was smaller than they thought, “They thought it’d be about the size of a quarter it was about the size of a large pea.”
Dub had 15 rounds of treatment and now has to take hormone pills.
“I know that I’m an oddity”
“I pray that I stay an oddity that I do not see a lot of men come down with this,” says Dub.
He says he is nervous that more and more veterans may start showing up because of harmful chemicals used in the military.
When he first got diagnosed with breast cancer, he did not feel like an oddity until he went to get a mammogram.
“They said they had not had a male patient in there that anybody can remember in over five years for breast cancer and maybe even longer. That kind of shocked me.”
White says throughout his battle he had support from the nursing staff in the Cox Branson Cancer Center, his family, and many of the patients he would spend hours getting treatment with.
Moving forward, Dub doesn’t have a bucket list but he does have a couple of trips he would like to go on with his wife once he gets to the point where he has yearly doctor visits.
Dub’s oncologist, Dr. Gus Gonzales, says the best thing men can do if they think they might have breast cancer is to give a self-exam.