LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - Breast Cancer is a disease most people think men can't get but they do and a local man wants to make sure everyone knows it.
"I've been 19 years cancer free," said Samuel Baker.
It's a badge of honor, Samuel Baker wears proudly.
"I'm a rare case, but it happens," Baker explained.
December 1999 is a year Baker will never forget.
"I found a lump on my left breast, and I thought it was kind of odd. I complained about it and finally my wife said go do something about it," said Baker.
He took a trip to the family doctor in Napoleon, which did not cause immediate concern.
"He had told me your just drinking too much caffeine, cut out on the caffeine for a while. So I did that and it still didn't go away," explained Baker.
Several days passed before Baker went for a follow up appointment. That's when he revived the shock of his life.
"I had a lumpectomy, and they did a biopsy on it and found out it was cancerous," Baker said.
The diagnosis: Stage two breast cancer.
"There is always the fear of the unknown. When you hear cancer, one of the first things you think of is it's a death penalty," said Baker.
But death was not an option for Baker. Less than 18 hours after being diagnosed, he went under the knife for a modified radical mastectomy. A procedure removing his entire left breast.
"It felt like somebody a hit me arm with a 20-pound sledgehammer. I was black and blue from here, down to my elbow," said Baker.
Baker spent four days in the hospital recovering and underwent countless rounds of Chemo. It's a journey he never dreamed he would have to take.
"Breast cancer on a guy? You just don't think of that," he said.
As rare as it may sound, it does happen. According to Susan G. Komen of Northwest Ohio, male breast caner cases are 1 in 1,000 compared to 1 and 8 in Women.
"If something doesn't feel right, get it checked out," Baker warned.
That is the same advice that saved both he and his wife Nancy. Nine years after his diagnosis, she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught early during a regular mammogram.
"I'm not suppose to lift anything over 25 pounds with my left arm," said Baker.
The physical effects from Sam's life-saving surgery, has forced him to enter a new career field. After spending years on the factory line and driving trucks, he had to go back to school and learn a new trade.
"Got an associates degree in computer design and manufacturing, so now I do consulting work for various companies", explained Baker.
Along with a new career path, Sam also has a new outlook on life, which now includes warning other men about breast cancer.
"You may not think it can happen to you, but I'm one of the rare cases were it did," warned Baker.
Sam is undergoing knee surgery so we wont be participating in the race for the cure this year. But you can walk or run in his honor, and so many other survivors.