Kiss' Peter Criss Reveals Breast Cancer "Nightmare"

October 16, 2009 9:03 AM ET

Former Kiss drummer Peter Criss has revealed that he was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 but treated the disease before it could spread and is now cancer-free. To help bring awareness to National Breast Cancer Month, Criss talked about his scare with CNN and admitted that he didn't even know that men could get breast cancer until he was diagnosed. "So many people must die from this," Criss said. "Somebody has to step up to the plate and say something to get them aware of how dangerous this is. Lots of men die: They wait, they don't go in, they put it off."

In 2007, Criss noticed a painful lump in his chest while working out. Because his wife was battling another form of cancer at the time, he didn't hesitate to get checked out. In February 2008, doctors removed what they believed was a harmless nodule from Criss' chest, but tests revealed that nodule was breast cancer. "I flipped out. I just couldn't believe it. It's a nightmare," Criss told CNN. Another surgery in March 2008 removed the cancer, and thankfully the cancer had not spread, meaning Criss didn't need to undergo chemotherapy.

Look back at classic Kiss photos.

Criss now gets monthly mammograms, and the breast cancer hasn't resurfaced. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 2,000 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, resulting in almost 450 deaths. "Don't sit around playing Mr. Tough Guy. Don't say 'It's going to go away.' " Criss tells the Kiss Army and all other men out there. "It's just important, just go get checked out. It's not like you're going to lose your manhood."

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