1. Richard Roundtree: The legendary actor is best known for playing a charismatic Black detective and womanizer in the 1971 classic Shaft. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 during a doctor’s visit.
“I thought he was questioning my manhood,” Roundtree recalled in an essay he wrote for Essence in 2009. “Women die from this, not men. How could I possibly have that?” Roundtree survived but had to undergo a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.
2. Edward Brooke: Edward Brooke became the first African American elected to the Senate in 1966. In September 2002, he was diagnosed with breast cancer. He underwent a double mastectomy and survived the ordeal. It is hard to say that breast cancer cut his life short because Brooke remained cancer-free until his death in January 2015 at age 95.
3. Ernie Green: The Cleveland Browns fullback is not nearly as well known as running back and teammate Jim Brown a fullback. Long after his playing days with the Browns from 1962 to 1968, doctors discovered a lump in his chest in 2005. Initially, Green was misdiagnosed because of the rarity of breast cancer in men. But after Green got a second opinion, cancer was revealed through a mammogram and biopsy. He also had a mastectomy, as well as eight sessions of chemotherapy, and he has been cancer-free since 2006, according to Men’s Health.