Fifteen years ago, I heard those infamous words: “Mr. Singer, Sir You Have Breast Cancer!”
It was not that shocking to hear, since I had already assumed the worst from the Mammogram, Ultra-Sound and subsequent biopsy. But here I am, still standing, still fighting and still advocating for all the other men with a similar diagnosis.
It’s a little bit ironic that my diagnosis came in the month of October, a month that has become synonymous with breast cancer. Over the past few years, we have been able to get recognition for all the men who have been diagnosed, by having the third week of October recognized in 27 states as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
We have worked extremely hard to understand all the fallacies, misconceptions, disdain, embarrassment and shame being diagnosed, as a man with breast cancer, has brought us. We strive every day to learn how to overcome them.
These small accomplishments haven’t been easy. Fifteen years ago, male breast cancer was as swept under the rug as female breast cancer was in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Very “hush-hush”! No guy wanted to talk about his own diagnosis, let alone attempt to bring it to the forefront of mass conversation. In the 40’s and 50’s, woman had their surgeries, padded their empty bra’s and went on with their lives as best as possible. Only their immediate families knew of their health struggles. Extenuating disease or genetic health links were not part of the equation.
Post my mastectomy surgery and prophylactic chemo I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer 18 months later, which was caused by the same BRCA2 Mutation. I am still fighting and advocating, insuring male breast cancer and male BRCA mutations are included in all of the conversations.
In 2010 my sister, Vicki and I Co-Founded: HIS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS FOUNDATION, Inc. At that time, we were the ONLY male breast cancer resource and advocacy group in the world. These past thirteen years have been an amazing and rewarding journey, but one I never anticipated taking.
Some people often wonder “Why Me”, regarding a cancer diagnosis.
First, I know ‘Why Me”? it was because of my genetic predisposition.
But the more important “WHY ME”? Is because I was the one guy who was going to do something about it! Change the narrative and the misconceptions.
And We Have!