MANHATTAN -- Fifteen men have been diagnosed with breast cancer related to their exposure to Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and it's one of 68 rare forms of cancer that have affected survivors of the attacks.
"I had never even heard of male breast cancer," said Jeff Flynn, who was diagnosed with netastatic stage 4 breast cancer seven years ago.
He was an office worker 5 blocks from the World Trade Center site. His illness was news he never expected.
"I was very angry that I have worked heard all those years and I'm going to die," he said.
Michael Barash represents thousands of victims who have sought compensation for 9/11-related illnesses.
"It's heartbreaking and it is shocking at the rate of cancers. It's not just cancer. These are aggressive cancers," Barash said.
He said male breast cancer usually effects 1 of every 100,000 men. His office has seen at least 20 cases.
Flynn was looking at retirement when he said he started to have symptoms that his wife recognized right away.
" I felt a little pain and a little lump, and I mentioned it to my wife and she said, 'Get to the doctor,'" Flynn said.
His diagnosis was stage 4 metastatic male breast cancer that had spread to the lymphnodes.
The doctors performed a double mastectomy and removed 35 lymphnodes, but even after chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer returned.
"Everything in your life changes. How am I going to support my family?" Flynn said.
He takes a pill daily that cost $12,000 a month that his settlement and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund pay for. He wants others to know that this disease doesn't just affect women.
"There's no shame in having this. You are sick or you are potentially sick, so speak out about it," he said.
The Barash McGarry Salzman and Penson Firm is now representing 19 other cases just like his.AlertMe