November 21, 2009

5 Questions: KISS' Peter Criss on Surviving Breast Cancer

Posted: 03:17 PM ET

NOTE: Tonight on LKL we will be discussing the new federal advisory board recommendations concerning mammograms for women (to read more about their recommendations, CLICK HERE).

Peter Criss, original drummer and founding member of the rock band, KISS, shares his story of overcoming breast cancer.  While many people think breast cancer doesn’t affect men, they are wrong:  In 2009, there will be an estimated 1,910 cases of breast cancer diagnosed among men in this country, according to the National Cancer Institute.  Of those cases, 440 deaths are expected.  For women, the numbers are much higher:  an estimated 192,370 women in the U.S will be diagnosed, with 40,170 deaths.  Doctors stress early detection can save your life.  This blog originally appeared on Oct. 27th.

Peter Criss answered our “5 Questions” about his diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

1. LKL Blog: First of all, how are you doing?  We've read that you are cancer free?

Peter Criss: I am doing great thank you for asking.  Yes I am thank God cancer free!!


Peter Criss, 63, says of his breast cancer, "Early detection saved my life."

2. LKL Blog: There's a lot of awareness and information out there about breast cancer – but most of it has to do with women. Frankly, a lot of people don't realize men get it too. How did you discover that you had breast cancer?  Tell us about finding the lump....

Peter Criss: First, let me say I agree there is very little awareness and information for men on breast cancer.  I would like to see that change for men, more information in and out of doctor's offices.  So men feel more comfortable talking about it and getting it checked.

Now how I found the lump?  I am very aware of my body.  I got home one day from the gym, after a shower I felt a little lump in my left nipple.  It hurt the more I messed with it.  I just knew something was wrong, my brain went ( red light ! ).  I showed it to my wife Gigi.   She was going to her gynecologist and she said she will have the doctor take a look at it.

I went with her to her appointment to see the doctor. The doctor felt it and took a sonogram of my breast.  She did not like the look of the sonogram and called Dr. Swistel and asked if he would check me right away.  He agreed and I went right over to his office at Weill Cornell NY Presbyterian Hospital.  He ordered some test (biopsy, mammogram and ultrasound).  I went to a doctor by where I live in New Jersey to do the test – they said it was just a nodule or cyst, you're cool get it out if you want to, if it hurts.  Dr Swistel did the operation.  I felt fine afterwards.  I got a call over the weekend – he said that I had breast cancer but don't freak out you will not need chemo or medication because we got it (early).  But I need to go back in and operate.  The operation went great.  I had my check up October 5th and I am cancer free!!!   I said to my wife and doctor I am going to tell the world, perfect time as it is breast cancer awareness month .

3. LKL Blog: How difficult was the diagnosis and treatment for you personally? And also generally speaking -as a man- what are the challenges?

Peter Criss: The diagnosis was very difficult for me, a man dose not think he can get this.  The treatment was easy, only because we got it (early)!!!  As a man the challenges are to tell other men to get checked...there are no physical challenges.


Criss, pictured third from the left, was the "Catman" and an original member of the band KISS.

4. LKL Blog: What advice do you have for other people out there – men or women – when it comes to early detection and treatment?

Peter Criss: Man or woman: the minute you feel something wrong, just GO TO THE DOCTOR, I beg you.  It is a matter of life and death – early detection saved my life.

5. LKL Blog: How have things changed for you (personally or professionally) since this happened?

Peter Criss: I have always believed in miracles and God.  This lets me know miracles are true.  I am a grateful person, but I always have been.  My faith is my strength and my family and friends and the fans.  There is enough bad news in the world; have faith in God and the world is yours.

Be Happy.

Editor’s note: For more information on breast cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute at

Filed under: 5 Questions • Larry King Live

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still me just a new name   October 27th, 2009 4:55 pm ET

I am glad that the topic of breast cancer is being discussed in connection to men. Men have to know that they are at risk too.

doug   October 27th, 2009 9:56 pm ET

You should have Peter Criss on the show alot of his fans would love to see him.

Mike   October 28th, 2009 12:34 am ET

You should have Peter Criss on your show. Millions of people would watch - just out of curiosity to see him now without his makeup. Your ratings would go "sky high" and, most importantly, millions of men (and women) will hear about early detection.


Robert   October 28th, 2009 3:33 am ET

I agree get him on the show help create awareness

Marie   October 28th, 2009 4:38 pm ET

Dear Mr. Larry King,
Thank You for posting your five questions with Mr. Peter Criss about his experience in overcoming male breast cancer.
God Bless You both for raising awareness of this very important issue that not many men out there know about.
Hoping that you will invite Mr. Criss on your show to discuss it at length to reach an even wider audience to get this very important and personally experienced health matter of Mr. Criss's out to the general public. If other men see that a strong rock/jazz drummer can get it, seeing him on your show would help encourage them to see a doctor if they are experiencing pain in their breast tissue as well or feel a lump.
You would be helping to potentially save lives out there by having Peter Criss on your show to spread awareness as early detection really is key to survive breast cancer – male or female.
Thank You for your time and for posting these 5 questions online,
Marie Mullowney – from Oklahoma

wendy   October 30th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

So many of us are Peter Criss fans! We would love to see him on your show, Larry.

Good for him for speaking out about this!

Joan   November 11th, 2009 2:03 am ET

You are brave Peter. I think a lot of men think that this is only a womens affliction but it is not. Thank you for bringing awareness to men and diminishing the stigma. Maybe more men will feel comfortable with being checked now and more can be cured before it spreads. I think you are awesome because of your braveness. (the band rocks too) love ya,

A. Smith, Oregon   November 18th, 2009 4:25 pm ET

It is often erroneously stated they are cancer free, or a drug addict is permanently cured.

The fact is that whatever the underlining cause for the Cancer is seldom ever permanently removed.

The Cancer victim must constantly be on the alert for further outbreaks which could erupt elsewhere and anywhere the body's immune system fails to protect the outlying tissue from malignant tumors.

Cancer victims must be very pro-active for their remaining lifespans to boost their immunity systems and be hyper-vigilant against any and all further outbreaks the moment they occur.

Tommy Shades   November 18th, 2009 10:50 pm ET

Peter GOD BLESS that you are doing O.K. I am not afraid to go to the
doctor and it has helped me! Men are afraid to go to their doctor but
that is foolish, they are there to help, are you going to be on the show?
Take care!

Robyn Korn,R.N. (and Breast Cancer Survivor)   November 18th, 2009 10:51 pm ET

*New Breast Screening Recommendations*

Unfortunately and sadly, this is probably what's coming down the road in the near future! The breast cancer epidemic is 1 in 8! I am a breast cancer survivor diagnosed in my 40's with a mammogram only! I had no other symtoms of the disease! If I had followed the new recommendations I would be dead now and so would many other women diagnosed before 50!

carolyn austin   November 18th, 2009 10:57 pm ET

I agree that hormones and hormone replacements do make cancers sad that our doctors pass them out like candy , government approves them and lawyers are right there with commercials every day to reap the harvest of their destruction.........what a cruel system.

Kathy   November 18th, 2009 11:04 pm ET

I completely agree with Peter Criss. I got breast cancer at the young age of 28 and was given a 50/50 chance to survive. There was no family history. I have 3 children, 2 girls and 1 boy and I have taught all three on how to do breast examination and especially pulled my son aside and told him just because you are a male does not mean you won't get it. Information and knowledge of this disease is a key factor in catching it early. More man die of breast cancer due to complete lack of knowledge. I would like to see Peter appear on Larry King to share his story and save some more lives. Thank you Peter for speaking up and sharing your story.

Melanie H   November 18th, 2009 11:09 pm ET

I agree with the task force, women must be in tune with their bodies, the JAMA has reported that mammograms cause breast cancer, that's a catch 22, women must make an informed decision. What is the % of mammograms that cause cancer? Can't ultrasound be a much safer alternative? If this affects insurance companies cutting funding for coverage that is absolutely not fair, women should be able to choose the method and time when they feel it is right for them.

Sherry   November 19th, 2009 4:12 pm ET

GOD bless you Peter! Thank the good Lord you are ok and got it in time and you have brought awareness that alot of men are too embarrassed or think Breast Cancer is just a female thing and not a male thing. I'm so happy you got yours in time and that you are cancer free. (I"m also a long time KISS fan 🙂 ) I totally agree that woman and men too must know their bodies and get to a doctor quick with ANY change as Peter said he noticed. I agree about Larry having Peter on the show too... 🙂

Darlene   November 19th, 2009 10:13 pm ET

Happy birthday Larry 🙂

PADMAN   November 19th, 2009 10:44 pm ET

Its time Larry King and the 3 liberal ladies quit discussing Sara Palin.
You all lack the intelligence to understand her. Better join Katie Currick and that called comedian Letterman.

Ethel   November 19th, 2009 11:54 pm ET

Happy Birthday Larry...........How old are you?:)

Barbara Woodrom   November 20th, 2009 2:11 am ET

Happy Birthday Larry, it's also my birthday, hope you had a good day. I'm also up there in age, so I just thank god every day that I open my eyes!!!! Love your show

luckybee   November 22nd, 2009 1:14 am ET

Renate Verbaan is a beautiful dutch girl from Holland who went to Afrika , to help the Children there to surfive the Abijan Ivory Coast Afrika.exelent you wil say;but it had one fault;And that is she helps the perpetrators, and not the victims.Who had brought missery to others that were not moslims,zo that they can keep going on to needle and bait others to the dead, years after years. God didn't agree with that. He contaminate her with Aid, and with her many other social workers of the UNICEF.Stop to support them, they are on the wrong way.

luckybee   November 22nd, 2009 1:28 am ET

Stop supporting the UNICEF; you help Satan in stead of God.

kathleen, 30   November 22nd, 2009 6:39 pm ET

Has Gene&Paul or Ace ever talked to Peter to see how he was doing his got the cancer!Since there is small # of men getting the caner,with the men that do get it,is it somehow connected to the family history of of people in the family getting the cancer that somhow gets them it since biology class as a kid I often hear the X genetic has more genetic info then the y one.

Big John   November 23rd, 2009 11:06 pm ET

Why is Suzy Orman on TV? She talks down to everyone as if we are all idiots and she knows it all. What are her qualifications? I've seen all sorts of people who seem to have a lot more knowledge than she does. I have never heard her say anything I did not already know. I get the feeling she is self appointed. Just so you know CNN I change channels whenever she is on, and I am a big fan of CNN.

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