Woman Who Lost Husband to Male Breast Cancer Goes on Road Trip to Raise Awareness

Cancer

Pat Washburn has gone from city to city in her late husband’s car with one message: Men can get breast cancer, too.

Washburn recently finished a 40-plus city tour in her husband Marlyn’s 2014 Dodge Dart. After Marlyn died in 2017, just five months after learning he had breast cancer, the car was repurposed. Pat has added messaging about male breast cancer, as well as a prominent picture of Marlyn on the hood. The car is now an awareness campaign on wheels.

Honoring the memory of our Male Breast Cancer Coalition brother Marlyn Washburn on the 4th anniversary of his passing….

Posted by Male Breast Cancer Coalition on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Washburn hopes the effort can save lives.

She says, “I want people to know that men can get breast cancer. I don’t want any other man to go through what my husband went through, and I don’t want any other family to go through what we went through.”

Washburn was joined on her tour by Cheri Ambrose, who’s just as passionate about the cause. Ambrose is the co-founder of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, which works to fight the stigma about male breast cancer and to educate men on the signs of the disease.

Posted by Male Breast Cancer Coalition on Saturday, September 4, 2021

Ambrose saw a personal friend struggle when he found out he had breast cancer. She says he was so embarrassed that he never made the information public. He’s now living with stage 4 breast cancer, after a recurrence of the disease. Ambrose believes that may not have happened if he’d had treatment sooner.

She says, “Although the incidence of breast cancer in men is much lower than that of women, the mortality rate is significantly higher. Men are often diagnosed at a much later stage of the disease because they, and sometimes even their doctors, aren’t aware that they can get breast cancer, so they ignore the signs. We’ve lost far too many.”

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Washburn has been sharing this important information while driving in her “Marlyn Mobile” for some time. In fact, she’d already taken several trips with her grandchildren to spread awareness. Getting the word out is something that her husband wanted to do, as well.

We had the amazing opportunity to educate 3 more people thanks to The Marlyn Mobile. Great meeting you all and wishing…

Posted by Male Breast Cancer Coalition on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Washburn says, “He was an educator. He had been an educator for 41 years. At the time he was diagnosed, we found out how many of our family and friends did not know that men could get breast cancer. He said at the time that we have to do what we can.”

For their part, Ambrose and Washburn did what they could to spread the word about male breast cancer in more than a dozen states across the country, from California and Oregon to Iowa and Kansas. Through their social media posts, it’s clear that the “Marlyn Mobile” educated plenty of people on stops along the way, hopefully sparing more men from advanced disease and their loved ones from grief.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,650 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2021, with about 530 men dying from the disease.

Today would have been our 27th wedding anniversary. Breast cancer took him away from all of us too soon. I will be on…

Posted by Pat Washburn on Thursday, September 9, 2021

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