David Locke is a breast cancer survivor and wants the men in Warwick to get themselves checked out.
David Locke is a breast cancer survivor and wants the men in Warwick to get themselves checked out. Jonno Colfs

SHOCK DIAGNOSIS: David's breast cancer battle

IN JANUARY 2017, David Locke, a seemingly healthy 49-year-old Warwick man, got the shock of his life.

It was breast cancer.

To make things worse, just a week later, his sister Kylie also received the same diagnosis.

"Most men don't even know they could get breast cancer," Mr Locke said.

"All the ads and fundraisers are for women, but 150 men each year are diagnosed in Australia, so it can happen"

12 months on, the battle has been won, but the war is not over as Mr Locke fights to ready himself for a return to work.

"When they cut the cancer out they took a fair bit out around it," he said.

"The male version of a masectomy left me with a lot less pectoral muscle so I've lost a fair bit of strength in my right arm."

A former parks and gardens worker with the council for 30 years, Mr Locke has joined a 12 week cancer survivors program at WIRAC to get back on track.

"They tailor an individual program for you, working on the areas you need to work on," he said.

"Those couple of sessions a week along with my regular physio exercises should see me on the mend.

"I just want to make sure I'm back to 100percent before I try to work again."

It was Christmas 2016 when Mr Locke noticed a lump on the right side of his chest.

"I didn't think anything of it," he said.

"I just figured I'd bumped myself."

A few weeks later, that innocuous little lump began to hurt and Mr Locke took himself off to see his doctor, Andrew Rees at Palmerin St Medical.

Next came some scans and still not satisfied, more so concerned at the shape of the lump, Dr Rees sent Mr Locke for a biopsy in Toowoomba.

A few days later, Mr Locke was sitting in the doctors office again.

"I kind of knew what he was going to say," he said.

"My mum had breast cancer twice, about 27 years ago, my aunts, my grandmother, all through my family.

"I was completely shocked, afraid, worried for my future and stunned at how quiukly your health could be taken from you.

"But I'm a joker, so I decided right from the start to stay positive - I knew I was going to beat it.

"I needed to keep that sense of humour. It would have driven me nuts otherwise."

Mr Locke said the hardest part was telling his mum.

"After all she'd been through, that was tough," he said.

"But she is my rock, her support meant everything.

"And her and Auntie Dawn all told me to focus on one thing at a time.

"Not to worry about anything but the next thing - not to get overwhelmed by the big picture."

Mr Locke said he used Facebook to update how he was going.

"I kept that really positive, because my sister was going through the same things just behind me and I needed to be strong for her," he said.

"The amount of support was fantastic, all the comments from friends and family, even people I hadn't heard from in years."

After 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 25 doses of radiation, Mr Locke is in the clear, for now.

"I have to see my doctor every now and again and I'll head back to see the surgeon in six months," he said.

"But I just was to say to the men out there, it happens.

"I'm sure a lot of men don't even realise it.

"But do yourself and your family a favour and get yourself checked out."

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