Bronxite Michael Singer’s journey began back in December 2010 when he was diagnosed with male breast cancer at age 50.
“This December I will be a seven-year-survivor of breast cancer,” Singer told the Bronx Times Reporter.
“I was diagnosed at age 50 with ductal carcinoma in situ,” he said. “As a male, I never checked myself and ignored the issues I was having for several months until I went for a routine exam and mentioned this issue to my doctor.”
Singer’s full story is told on the Male Breast Cancer Coalition website: maleb
“Recently I worked with my local assemblyman, Michael Benedetto, and with guidance from Cheri Ambrose of the MBCC, I was able to get a proclamation signed by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo recognizing the third week of October as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week in New York State,” Singer said.
Singer is now a patient advocate and attends many cancer conferences, such as San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the American Society of clinical Oncology, and several events sponsored by the American Cancer Society in the Bronx, where he gets to meet scientists working at Montefiore Hospital.
“Last year I was asked to be an Ambassador for the Real Men Wear Pink of the Bronx, sponsored by the American Cancer Society making Strides against Breast Cancer,” Singer said.
“This is important to me because I lost my sister to metastatic breast cancer two years before I was diagnosed, and the ACS is doing so much for the breast cancer community through its research programs and community outreach programs. So this is an opportunity to give back and help raise awareness to breast cancer.”
In December 2010, upon seeing Dr. Joseph Bonanno for an annual fitness evaluation for his job as a facility maintenance manager for the federal government, Singer mentioned that he felt a cyst under his left nipple.
Bonanno, a Bronx doctor, referred Singer to a local surgeon, Dr. Anibal Puente, for a needle biopsy.
When Puente could not draw enough fluid, Puente scheduled Singer for a surgical biopsy the following day at Westchester Square Hospital.
When Singer got his biopsy results, he learned that a 2.2 cm tumor had been removed and tested positive for cancer.
The diagnosis was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Ductal Carcinoma in Situ.
Singer was scheduled for surgery five days later, to have a mastectomy of his left breast.
“My wife provided me with as much love and support as humanly possible and if it wasn’t for her this whole journey would have been unbearable,” Singer recalled.
Singer woke up in recovery bandaged like a mummy and in so much pain.
The surgeon came in and told him everything went well.
The next day he went home with 23 staples, two drainage bottles hanging from his chest and his left breast removed.
“My ultimate goal is to spread the word that men can get breast cancer too,” Singer said. “Men must check their breasts routinely, as early detection can be a key to surviving this horrible disease.”