LINDSAY Hein needed an air of invincibility as a Kerang football player and cricket fast bowler.
No sportsman wants to give opponents a hint of weakness or vulnerability.
But the toughness that served him well in the sporting environment could have cost him his life.
A belated cancer diagnosis indicated drastic surgery was needed to remove Mr Hein's right breast.
That delayed diagnosis had nothing to do with doctors, but rather Mr Hein's decision to ignore wife Glenys' advice to get a sore spot in his chest medically checked.
"Being a typical male I let it go, and it got a bit worse and I finally went, probably six months too late.
"If I'd have gone earlier, they probably could have cut it out, but anyway I didn't and they took a biopsy and it was malignant (and they) ripped it off."
Mr Hein was fortunate the cancer hadn't spread to other parts of his body and chemotherapy was not required, but he still lost a significant amount of body tissue and his lymph nodes.
His wife sadly passed away before his diagnosis.
In relation to breast cancer, Mr Hein said you seldom hear of blokes who have got it.
He knows another man in Cohuna who was fortunate to survive the disease.
The Australian Government's Cancer Australia website advises that many men are unaware they are susceptible to breast cancer and that although men account for less than 1 per cent of overall cases of the disease, they are still at risk.
Mr Hein now has regular mammograms of his left breast and urges men to go to the doctor if they have any medical concerns.
The Cancer Council advises that there is likely to be a gradual increase in the number of Australian men diagnosed with breast cancer each year as the population ages.
"It is therefore increasingly important to provide information and support to affected men and their families," the Cancer Council advises.
Its website indicates that in 2016, 28 men died of breast cancer in Australia.