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Male breast cancer changes life of University of Oklahoma professor


Krista Nightengale March 8th, 2007

An estimated 1,690 American men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. University of Oklahoma journalism professor Jack Willis was one of them.   As faculty adviser for OU's campus newspaper, Will...

An estimated 1,690 American men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. University of Oklahoma journalism professor Jack Willis was one of them.
 
As faculty adviser for OU's campus newspaper, Willis planned to work until he was 70. But cancer has a way of changing things.
 
TERRIBLE TREATMENT
"It's one of those things where the treatment is worse than the disease," Willis said. "The chemo just knocks you down."
 
Jack lost his hair, experienced a "god-awful taste" in his mouth and endured profound fatigue like he'd never encountered before.
 
But he's not the only one who worried and struggled.
 
"Jack "¦ is very soft-spoken, but the side effects of the medicine would make him "¦ I guess there's really not another word "¦hateful," BeckyWillis, his wife, said. "He's never been hateful."
 
WRITING A BOOK
To deal with the treatment and his eventual masectomy, Willis started a diary.
 
"It was very therapeutic," he said. "You say stuff that you wouldn't say to people probably."
 
Suddenly, Willisunderstood a reason for him having cancer. So, he began writing his first book, "Saving Jack." A reworked compilation of his cancer experience, it almost immediately was accepted for publication by the University of Oklahoma Press.
 
Willis said the idea arose in part from his discovery that there are few resources available to male breast-cancer victims. His book is designed to help others deal with the day-to-day battle. It's his way of giving back.
 
"Saving Jack" will be published in early 2008. "Krista Nightengale
 
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