Former Buc becomes ambassador for male breast cancer awareness

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He used to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so he is not the person you would expect to be the face of a new breast care center.

But men get breast cancer too and this male survivor shared his important mission.

Coming to the new Breast Wellness Center in Carrollwood from his place behind the chair, hairstylist Paul Dombroski hears a lot of stories. Not only is he good with hair, he’s good with listening.

But you might not believe the incredible story he has to tell or the effect it may have on one Bay Area community.

Before getting a license to do hair Paul was a professional football player, spending six years in the NFL. including in Tampa playing for the Bucs. 

“I was just yawning and I found it,” Dombroski explained of the day he found a lump. “I would say, for 100 percent of guys, [breast cancer] would never cross their mind. I have a little history of cancer. My dad passed from pancreatic cancer and my mom is a 25-year breast cancer survivor. But it wasn’t on my radar at all. For a guy, it's more colon and prostate.”

But the lump in Paul’s breast turned out to be breast cancer. He had a mastectomy and four lymph nodes removed.

“I haven’t heard any guys talk about it, but I think this is where my road has taken me, and I understand completely that my parents, who have passed, they'd want me to help as many people as possible,” he said.

So Paul agreed to help with a cutting-edge project – chairing an advisory committee and helping to fundraise for a new Breast Wellness Center at Florida Hospital Carrollwood.

Florida Hospital Carrollwood’s Executive Director Tonya LaForgia says the facility will house digital imaging equipment that will help with preventative and diagnostic care, as well as treatments.

There’s also a spa area in the building, to help fighters and survivors heal their minds and their bodies.

LaForgia says the mortality rate of men with breast cancer is higher because they don’t tend to be proactive.  

But Paul says, “We share the same journey. I’m just a different messenger.”

He says men need breast health services too and he wants men to feel comfortable coming to the new Breast Wellness Center in Carrollwood.

To learn more about the project at Florida Hospital Carrollwood or you'd like to attend a walk for breast cancer this weekend visit FOX 13’s Linda Hurtado on Facebook.