HIS Breast Cancer Awareness was established October 2009, because we believed we needed to make changes to what we know and think about breast cancer. This month, HIS Breast Cancer Awareness celebrates
10 years of doing just that- Educating and Saving Lives while supporting those who have been diagnosed and in memory of those who have died from this disease. Harvey’s diagnose is how HIS began, what we’ve accomplished makes us thrive, knowing there is so much more to do is what keeps us motivated and hopeful.
“11 Years Ago…Almost to this day…
I discovered a lump under my left nipple…
10 Days later, I was diagnosed with Male Breast Cancer!
My World Changed. My Life Changed. My Direction Changed.”
Yes, a cancer diagnosis will rock your world. But never did I anticipate how it was
about to ROCK mine and help save lives too!
After dealing with surgery, chemotherapy, uneasiness, doubt, healing, reflecting and
the tribulation of being a man in a woman’s pink cancer world, my path was cast. I
wrote in my book, Sir, You Have Breast Cancer, “Why was I chosen to be the
anomaly? How was it ME that would be diagnosed with such a rare cancer for a man?
Maybe just MAYBE, because I was the one that would actually do something about it!”
I reached out to my little sister Vicki, who had already been through three bouts of
Breast Cancer and genetic testing. Upon understanding the genetics of our disease and
the risk to any of our five sons, we had to find a way to change how male breast cancer
was viewed and to erase the stigma that infested it. We knew we had to add some blue
to the pink of breast cancer.
HIS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS FOUNDATION was born!
Exactly one year post Harvey’s initial diagnosis, we launched, what was the FIRST of
its type. We would create an actual place where other men could go to find information
and understanding about what was truly happening to them. A place where loved ones
for these men could obtain REAL information and not some sugar coated version of
female breast cancer. We created a truly educational website, one that would go on to
work with many other organizations fighting this same discourse. No longer would we
avoid the MEN in this fight. We would bring this fight to the forefront.
It’s hard to believe that over the past 10 years, so much has changed regarding Male
Breast Cancer and how it is viewed. From changing the forms at the radiology offices, to
being included for an entire week during October breast cancer awareness month, to
having actual studies now which are strictly about treatment options for MEN and just
being accepted by the medical community in general, we are no longer outcasts. Actual high profile people are now coming forward to discuss their disease and genetics onNational TV networks. We spurned conversation. We helped to create Male Breast Cancer documentary, Pink and Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer. We have worked closely with The Basser Center for BRCA research. We have worked closely with FORCE; (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). We have shared information with Grey Genetics and many other organizations and people who are willing to extend their reach and their arms.
The Male Breast Cancer and Genetic Cancer community are really quite amazing. And
to think that we were there as one of the pioneers in this community can be a little
overwhelming. We are all here to support each other and to pay it forward. We are one
community working together for the same common goals.
The men that reach out to us from all over the world, remind us, every day, that there is
still so much more to do. There are so many more men to reach, to help and
possibly save more lives.
It’s been quite the journey. One we never expected to take but one that we would not
trade. Some people get a cancer diagnosis and they are so overwhelmed with their
decisions and their courses of action are polluted in fear. It’s understandable. When HIS
Breast Cancer Awareness can help to clarify some of those decisions, it is truly a
As we look back on our first 10 years and reflect, we can only hope we have many
more decades to continue doing what we were destined to accomplish. Our Goal is to
make Male Breast Cancer and Genetic Cancers in general, easier to understand and
cope with and much easier to cure or avoid all together.
We are very thankful for all the individuals, organizations, medical staff, reporters,
bloggers, etc., who have worked with us to help share our important, life saving
information and a solid foundation. To the thousands of men who have been diagnosed with
breast cancer and/or have learned about their genetics and have
found support from us, we will continue to be here for you and generations to come. We have and will continue to change the stigma for men that is associated with breast and hereditary cancers.
Harvey I. Singer, Co-founder, Survivor and BRCA2 Mutation Carrier
Vicki Singer Wolf, Co-founder, Survivor and BRCA2 Mutation Carrier
Modeh Ani- We are grateful
Photo credit Caitlin W.