It’s almost a given that in one’s lifetime either a friend, family member, loved one or oneself will be diagnosed with cancer. It surrounds us and is a part of our life even if it’s just a fleeting moment because we experience a pain, feel something somewhere on our body, or just self-diagnos.
So you would think when my brother Harvey called me to say he was on his way to see his doctor because he thought he felt a lump, or something on his breast area, I would have been more prepared. Especially knowing that we have an aunt, our mother and myself all who have experienced breast cancer I could have predicted the outcome.
Let’s rewind by a couple of years; after my personal third bout with breast cancer and living a fairly healthy lifestyle, I decided it was time to do some genetic testing. My family is of the Ashkenazi European Jewish decent, my mother had lost 2 half brothers to cancers and along with my aunt and mother, I knew there had to be more that would explain these recurrences. The genetic testing showed the BRCA2 mutation that puts my family at a higher risk of developing cancer in different areas. When I explained the details to both of my brothers, I knew they were listening but not sure they were actually hearing me. Unfortunately they understand it much more clearly now!
HIS Breast Cancer Awareness was formed because my brother Harvey I. Singer was diagnosed after a mammogram, ultra sound and breast biopsy, with Breast Cancer. He too has had genetic testing to reveal he is also a carrier of the BRCA2 mutation. Having a diagnosis of breast cancer is never easy, but to be a male it’s a thousand times more difficult and in many ways, very humiliating. My other brother just recently was tested and is also a BRCA2 carrier- the chances of all 3 siblings being a carrier is almost beyond believable. Between the three of us we have 7 sons and just one daughter.
We learned how little information and awareness exist on this diagnosis and so for our children and all men, we knew we needed to help make a difference. We need to lessen the humiliation so men can deal with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer as it should be, a disease, not a stigmatism. I came up with the name HIS because it is my brother’s initials and it is in his honor that I am proud to help bring awareness, education and insight for all men.
Modah Ani, I Am Thankful