(WTVM) - "It was just a tiny little spot and I never would have thought he would have died."
Nine years ago, Kristi Stokes lost her father, 55-year-old Earl Kinsman, to breast cancer.
"The first thing you think is, breast cancer? You don't think men get breast cancer, when in fact they really do. You just don't hear about it," says Stokes.
Kinsman, a native of Columbus, had a love of coaching softball and as well as a deep love for his family.
Always an active man in the community, it came as a shock to Kinsman when an irregular lump was discovered on his breast and was diagnosed as stage-four breast cancer.
"It was like a bb right underneath the skin and when he noticed it, it was already too late. It had already started to protrude out, almost like a red pimple," explains Stokes.
To honor her father's legacy, Stokes is determined to break the stereotype and encourage men to regularly perform self checks or get examined.
"Most of the time when men find breast cancer it is too advanced or too late. It is already stage three or stage four because they are not taught to look for it."
Even though breast cancer is about 100 times less common in men than woman, over 2,200 men will be diagnosed this year and 410 of those men will die.
Signs and symptoms can include a painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue, changes to the skin covering your breast, and changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling.
"With October being breast cancer awareness month, I know its pink, but real men wear pink as well and I feel like he was a real man," says Stokes, "He proudly would have worn pink had he been given the opportunity to wear it."