CHECK your pecs! That’s the message from a male breast cancer survivor who sat down with the Mid-Devon Advertiser to discuss his experience with the disease.

Breast cancer in men is a rare disease, accounting for approximately one per-cent of all breast cancer cases.

David Timms, who lives in Paignton but works in Newton Abbot, was among that one per-cent.

‘I shaved my chest and afterward I was left with an itch’ David said.

‘I thought nothing of it, I’d used an electric razor so I thought it was probably just a shaving rash.

‘I put-up with this itch for around eight weeks, but then I had some seepage out the end of my nipple, clear liquid and a dot of blood.

‘And that's when it all started’ he added.

David, 62, promptly went to the doctors, and within three days he saw a specialist at John Parkes Dermatology Day Unit at Torbay Hospital.

Further tests soon followed, including a biopsy, which David described as ‘the worst thing I have had’.

Having had the biopsy, David was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer

‘My initial reaction was - “what can we do about it? Let’s crack on!”’ David said.

‘Throughout my life I have had a few things I’ve had to tackle’ he added.

In this instance, to give David the best chance moving forward, he would need a mastectomy.

David remained stoic in the face of such a life-changing procedure.

‘It is probably the male mind, but I have never thought - “why me?” - you have got it, tackle it’ David said.

‘I have never been one of those people that say this is unfair - I am a natural survivor!

‘I mention it to people at work, but it is one of those where they say - “it’s not really a thing men get” - you can tell people about it, but whether they listen is another story’ he added.

Throughout his trips back and forth to Torbay Hospital, David came to know Newton Abbot WI’s Karen Jenks.

‘I approached the Breast Care Unit and asked if we could make mastectomy heart pillows and drainage bags’ Karen said.

‘Sown on the pillow says “hand-made with love by Newton Abbot WI”.

‘We suddenly got this card at the Buckland Centre from this lovely man.

‘He wrote that it was very much a women’s world and that he felt very different, but because we had sent the pillows he knew somebody cared’ she added.

What are the main symptoms of breast cancer in men?

► a lump or swelling in your chest or armpit

► liquid leaking from your nipples (nipple discharge), which may have blood in it

► changes in the size or shape of either side of your chest

► sores or ulcers on your chest

► a change in the shape or look of your nipple, such as it turning inwards (inverted nipple) or a rash on it (may look like eczema)

The NHS says to check your chest regularly so you know what's normal for you.