Harvey Singer and Vicki Singer Wolf are siblings who have both been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Their family history has been affected by several different types of cancer over the years. Breast cancer has affected their Aunt who was diagnosed in 1988, their mother in 1995 and then 1 month later in 1995, Vicki was diagnosed with the first of four bouts over an eleven year span. In 2008 Harvey was diagnosed as well. They are both BRCA 2 Positive. They have 5 children between them and ALL ARE BOYS! Because each of their son’s has a 50/50 chance of also being BRCA 2 Positive, their goals are to create a life where this disease does not exist, can be easily managed or personally avoided by their day to day lifestyle.
HIS Breast Cancer Awareness
Written by Vicki Singer Wolf
October is filled with pink everywhere you turn to remind us or educate us about breast cancer awareness; we want to add a little blue! Almost all ads and articles are directed towards reminding women to have their annual mammogram or to check themselves. What if you’re a guy? YES that’s right, men can get breast cancer! Breast cancer isn’t just about women; it’s about men who can also be diagnosed with this disease.
Sir, You Have Breast Cancer! These are the words my brother heard on the other end of the telephone! My brother and I are both breast cancer survivors and both carriers of the BRCA genetic mutation for the breast cancer susceptibility gene. Our maternal aunt and mother are also breast cancer survivors as well as other family members deceased who were diagnosed with a host of different cancers.
After my third bout with breast cancer, I had genetic testing completed only to learn that I was a BRCA2 carrier. Although I explained everything to my brother, he really never believed that he had to be concerned about breast cancer. He was wrong! Between us we have 5 sons and each have a 50% chance of being a carrier of the BRCA gene which in addition to breast cancer as a male it can also lead to early onset prostate, melanoma, pancreatic and a other cancers.
This year it is projected that over 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed and almost 500 men will die from the disease. Fifty percent of the worlds BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility gene) carriers are male and there is an increased risk from 1% closer to 6% of a diagnosis as a male if a carrier of the BRCA gene. The percentage fatality rate is often higher for men diagnosed with breast cancer as usually no one is checking, men don’t notice the symptoms, men are not aware they can have the disease and are not screened on a regular basis with current insurance regulations.
Breast cancer doesn’t just affect sisters and daughter’s, breast cancer affects sons and brothers. Male breast cancer treatment consists of mastectomy due to the limited amount of tissue and often followed with some or all; radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
While researching for information regarding male breast cancer, we learned there was not much available unless you wanted to read about someone who lost a loved one to the disease. Harvey and I decided we needed to help bring awareness as most men, women and professionals do not know that men can be diagnosed with this “woman’s” disease.
In 2009 we founded our nonprofit organization called HIS Breast Cancer Awareness and developed a very informative web site for education, insight, prevention and a place for men to learn they are not alone with the stigmas that surround them.
In addition, Harvey released his book, Sir, You Have Breast Cancer! about his life leading up to and including his diagnosis of male breast cancer which can be found on the SHOP (http://hisbreastcancer.org/shop.html) page of the web site or on amazon.com.
Changes need to be made, but it all begins with awareness and education. Men should have their yearly physical include a breast exam in addition to their prostate, discussions with their doctors and even mammograms for early detection when breast cancer is part of their family health history. We need to add some blue to the pink ribbon and we hope with your efforts and support, together we can make the changes needed to save lives.
Editor; Vicki Singer Wolf, Co-founder
HIS Breast Cancer Awareness
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