BY MONICA MANNEY, as seen on Spectrum News on Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Stuart Cojac says his battle with cancer has made him pay more attention to the little details. He says when he noticed a lump in his breast in 2002, he didn't think much of it, neither did his doctor. During a visit with his cardiologist, Cojac says his doctor wasn't comfortable with the lump.
"He sent me across the street for a mammogram and a biopsy, and it came back later breast cancer," he said.
In January 2003, Cojac had a mastectomy. He's a part of the 1% of men who are diagnosed with breast cancer. According to the CDC, male breast cancer is rare. For every 100 men, one man will be diagnosed with it. As part of the 1%, Cojac is using his art as advocacy, while beading necklaces and jewelry.
"One of the main reasons I participate in events like that and do jewelry shows is to let people know men can get breast cancer," he said.
Cojac says he loves his work, but his business is just a means to an end. "I donate to Carolina Breast Friends, The Pink House," he said. He says he hopes one day self-checks will become the norm for women and men.
"The protocol for men is to not get mammograms. No one's suggesting to men to get mammograms. They need to be aware of their body if something changes not ignore it," Cojac said.