Local skin cancer survivor warns men what can happen when you avoid going to the doctor

Dr. Seth Forman treats football-sized cancer

TAMPA, Fla. - Tony Whalen has a basal cell carcinoma on his back but unlike most skin cancers Dr. Seth Forman sees, which can be easily removed, this one, had turned into essentially a nightmare. "It was about the size of a football or a man's shoe," said Dr. Forman.

Why? A combination of reasons, including the fact men often put off going to the doctor. "I'm single and that makes a bit of a difference. I don't see it and what you don't see you don't know. People get lulled to sleep on the basal cell thing and that's kind of what I did.  People think you can easily get rid of it when you want to go after it, but that's not the truth," said Whalen. 

Tony came to Dr Forman with a more advanced cancer. While most early stage skin cancers can be cut out, Tony needed radiation and chemotherapy.  So why do men put off treatment? Dr Forman has a theory. "What I think it is, men are so functional in a way. 'I get up in the morning. I go to work. I eat dinner. I go to sleep. I repeat.' And I think if you don't have anything interrupting that regime than you think everything is going to be okay."

So their message today to all men: don't put off treatment and financial help is often available should you need it. "Mainly you have to go get checked. I've heard so many cases where the girlfriend or a brother or someone notices a spot on someone and says you need to have that looked at and they had no inclination to go in. They had to be told to go in. That's what brings them in to the doctor to find out hey, you've got cancer," said Whalen.

Another reason men and women put off going to the doctor is finances. They either don't have insurance or can't afford treatment and medications. In Tony's case, Dr. Forman got the pharmaceutical company to donate the drugs.

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