CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) -- It was 2002 when Domenic DiFormato of Cranston found a lump in his breast tissue at age 57.

"Just kind of ignored it for a few weeks, and then it started staining on my t-shirt," said DiFormato.

A biopsy came back positive.

"You never get as frightened as when a doctor tells you face to face I'm sorry to tell you, you have breast cancer," said DiFormato.

Six weeks later, he had a mastectomy, and was put on medication for the next five years. Thankfully he didn't need chemo or radiation.

"It's a big deal I think if you catch it early, you know, it's so important," said DiFormato.

"I think that the biggest misconception is that men don't get breast cancer," said Maureen DiPiero of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation says men should get a yearly chest exam by a doctor and do a monthly self-exam.

"Use your birthday. If it falls on the 14th of the month, set a reminder. We use our phones for so much stuff, but this is an important thing to put into your phone calendar," said DiPiero.

DiPiero says Beyonce's father recently sharing his battle with breast cancer has brought much-needed attention to male breast cancer, but there's a ways to go. 

"We have to empower men-as strange as that may seem-we always hear about empowering women," said DiPiero. "Men need that same support so that they can be comfortable sharing."

DiFormato agrees, and hopes other men learn from his story.

"I would think that if they could just take a few minutes and just check themselves," said DiFormato.

And these days, with his family by his side, he says he doesn't take a single day for granted.

"I'm a family guy. I would have missed all this, you know? If I had hesitated and just let it go, who knows what could have happened," said DiFormato. 

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