A married couple, who have dedicated their careers to cancer research, have told how they both contracted the same type of breast cancer at 47.
Dr Irene Bogler, 52, from Houston, Texas, was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2007, and now her husband Oliver, five years her junior, is battling the disease.
Mr Bogler told ABC News: 'Because of Irene’s history really it was very odd for me to come out and say 'Hey I think I have the same thing you had'. I was really concerned about feeling stupid and foolish.'
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Strange coincidence: Cancer researchers, Irene and Oliver Bogler (pictured with their two children), both developed stage II breast cancer at 47
Mr Bogler, who works at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas with his wife, is about to undergo his second month of chemotherapy. He says that he is grateful his wife can relate.
He explained: 'One of the things that's nice is that she understands where I'm at - that support has been great.
'You begin to think about the fact that you won't make it 'til 80 years old and it changes how you tackle life. It's hard to convey that unless you've gone through that yourself.'
Five years ago, Mrs Bogler, whose research involves finding genes that cause breast cancer, had six months of chemo, a mastectomy and radiation therapy.
She was given the all-clear just weeks before her husband was diagnosed with the disease this year.
'Having a wife who had breast cancer, I thought it would be weird saying I had it too'
While fighting breast cancer, she remembers her husband and family giving her unconditional support.
She said: 'Oliver was great, he obviously didn't understand the personal experience but he understood the process.'
In March, after his chemotherapy treatment, Mr Bogler will undergo a radical mastectomy.
The procedure involves the removal of the skin over the breast, all of the lymph nodes underneath the arm, and the chest muscles.
There for each other: The Boglers, who have two children together, met 20 years ago while doing cancer research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in San Diego
Reducing the risk: In March, after his chemotherapy treatment, Mr Bogler will undergo a radical mastectomy
Breast cancer in men is very rare, and is about 100 times more common among women, according to the American Cancer Society.
Dr Sharon Giordano, Mr Bogler's doctor and men's breast cancer specialist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, said that in many cases men have a delayed diagnosis because they don't think they could be at risk.
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER IN MEN?
'Men on average have an advanced disease because you have to have a lump to identify it. They don't examine their nipples,' she explained.
Although she has seen over 100 male breast cancer patients, Dr Giordano said the Boglers are the first couple she has ever seen who have both had breast cancer.
Some have questioned if the Bogler's involvement in cancer research is the reason why they developed the same cancer.
Mr Bogler's brother, Daniel, revealed: 'First of all, we don't have a history of cancer. Second of all breast cancer is an extremely unusual thing for a man.
'It's not Irene's genes or Oliver's genes, so you do wonder why. We asked Oliver about that when he was diagnosed; we thought maybe while feeding his cells and growing his cultures.'
However Mr Bogler assured his family that the radiation he and his wife receive in their research labs is no worse than one gets from an X-ray scanner at the airport.
He admitted: 'I am probably not going to die of this in the next five or 10 years. I have to tell you, it would have been better to go to the doctor sooner but I couldn't imagine this happening twice in our family.
'Having a wife who had [breast cancer], I thought it would be weird saying I had it too... It’s a very unusual diagnosis so I was really concerned about feeling stupid and feeling foolish.'
Mr Bogler's family now hopes he will reach the same cancer-free stage as his wife. The couple, who have two children together, met 20 years ago while doing cancer research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in San Diego.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2239234/Married-cancer-researchers-BOTH-diagnosed-breast-cancer--type-stage-age.html#ixzz2DRwONd7v
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