In October of 2008 and after ignoring some basic signs and symptoms for about 4 months, I was officially diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Even though my younger sister had lived with Breast Cancer and three recurrences of it and had been genetically diagnosed as BRCA 2 positive, I was still shocked that I, a 54 year old male, could contract this disease.
Three weeks later I had a complete mastectomy of my left breast. Subsequent Chemotherapy treatments incurred followed up by Genetic testing, Tamoxifen Therapy and precautionary MRI's and Mammograms
From my Internist to my Surgeon and continuing on with the three Oncologists that I met with, the lack of definitive information and lack of a true and consensus direction forced me to question almost every decision I needed to make. Ultimately, I had to make these decisions and my research and "gut" had to be the key determinants. You MUST BE YOUR OWN PERSONAL ADVOCATE, when dealing with these decisions. Only time will dictate if they were the right decisions.
Today I am healthy and possibly in the best shape of my life (or at least since I was in college). I have totally altered my Eating Habits and Diet. My Exercise schedule. My Work discipline and in general, how I live day to day. I live with the fear of recurrence as all Breast Cancer and I'm guessing any other type of Cancer patients do, but I am doing everything possible and in my power to insure that this disease does not come back.
I am married 36 years to an amazing woman (Donna) who stood beside me throughout my treatment process. She is my Rock! Together, we have 2 grown boys, Matthew and Jameson who are college graduates and professionals.
After running my wife's family uniform business for 22 years, several years ago I left the family business and joined an international manufacturer of Culinary and Hospitality Uniforms. Today, I am the Vice-President of Sales and National Accounts for the Eastern U.S. This job forces me to travel fairly extensively, which tests my ability to keep to my dietary and exercise regimens, BUT I DO. I HAVE TO! I continue to work hard but have learned to take time to enjoy life as well.
Once back to normal health, my sister Vicki and I vowed to find a way to inform and educate other men who are facing or are at high risk to face, Male Breast Cancer. Together we have formed the HIS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS FOUNDATION. (H.I.S. happens to be my initials)
Our goal is to make society more aware that this disease does exist for men and to find a way to force the medical institutions and insurance companies to screen those who may be at risk. Awareness will lead to more research dollars. More research will hopefully lead to finding the detailed hormonal factors that influence the growth of the disease in men. Maybe, some day, we will find a cure.
For now, I just encourage all to be aware and share your knowledge that men can be diagnosed with breast cancer and can carry a genetic mutation. Like my sister, I too was diagnosed as BRCA 2 positive.
Please visit our web site to learn more and consider making a donation in honor of a man (or men) in your life this Father’s Day. Your donation will help us educate others and save lives.
Happy and Healthy Father's Day
Harvey I. Singer, Co-Founder
HIS Breast Cancer Awareness