Fort Mill couple - husband and wife - battle breast cancer - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Fort Mill couple - husband and wife - battle breast cancer

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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) -

Ron Bush had never heard of a man getting a mammogram. Until his doctor made him get one.

"He sent me to radiology for a mammogram," he says. "And he was trying to squeeze something that wasn't there!"

Ron can make a joke about it now, but the reality is Ron's mammogram didn't look good. His doctor then sent him for an ultrasound and biopsy. Five days later he got a phone call.

"It was aggressive, invasive breast cancer," he says. "It stung. It took something out of me. I went from being a caretaker for my wife to her being the caretaker for me."

His wife of ten years, Phyllis Bush, had been diagnosed with a form of breast cancer in her right breast just three months before Ron's diagnosis.

"Mine was Padgett's Disease," Phyllis said. "That's a newer form of breast cancer. It was my right breast. Same side as my husband. I had two lumpectomy's.  One in October and one in November.  Then in December my husband was diagnosed. He had to have a mastectomy. His was more aggressive because it had spread to lymph nodes. Mine was contained in the breast area."  She takes a breath before finishing her thought. "This disease does not discriminate.  No... it does not discriminate on race, economic status or gender."

Ron admits he struggled, asking God, "Why me?".  Why was he, a man, diagnosed with a disease he had only ever known ever to affect women?

His deep faith, he says, gave him his answer. 
 
"The Lord just laid it in my spirit," he says.  "Men need to know.  It's not just a woman's disease.  This is now my mission."
 
He now calls spreading the word that men DO get breast cancer, and the importance of knowing your body and getting checked, his ministry.  He and Phyllis have talked in churches and at various meetings for Charlotte's Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"Komen Charlotte is great," Phyllis says.  "They reached out to us once they found out about Ron's situation.  They help so many people in our area."

Recently, Komen Charlotte distributed $1.2 million dollars in grant funding to 13 counties to help uninsured and underinsured people get mammograms and breast cancer treatments.  It also gave $420,000 for research.  That money was raised in Charlotte's annual "Race for the Cure", always held the first Saturday in October.

"When you think about what Susan G. Komen does nationally and here," Ron says.  "It's really incredible."
 
There is no doubt Ron is rare.  One in 1000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, compared to one in eight women.  No word how many married couples are diagnosed together. 

How are they doing now?

"I'm fantastic," says Phyllis, with a huge smile. 
 
Ron goes even further.

"I'm 10-feet tall and Bazooka-proof."

To read the specific places the $1.2 million in Komen Charlotte grant money was recently distributed in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union and York Counties, click on this post on "WBTV's Molly Grantham" Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/9wevu92
 
To get more on Komen Charlotte, go to www.komencharlotte.org.

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