Spreading male breast cancer awareness

Michael Singer, second person from the right, takes part in a topless photo shoot to raise male breast cancer awareness.
Photo courtesy of Tops Off NY

A fellow Bronx native, a lifelong resident of Throggs Neck and breast cancer survivor has one goal – to spread awareness on breast cancer – male breast cancer.

Michael Singer, who has been a male breast cancer survivor for almost four years, hopes to inform other men who don’t know that they can get breast cancer, just as he didn’t know until he was diagnosed in 2010.

In this attempt to spread awareness through organizations such as the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, Breast Cancer Brothers and the Bret Miller 1T Check Them Foundation, Michael is helping further education amongst men about male breast cancer.

“Men need to have a conversation with their medical providers,” said Michael Singer. “This will help promote awareness and possibly save someone’s life.”

Michael’s story of male breast cancer started back in December of 2010, when he saw his general practitioner, Dr. Joseph Bonanno, for a general fitness evaluation for work. During the examination, Singer mentioned to the doctor that he had felt a cyst under his left nipple that had been causing him discomfort over the last few months.

He figured it was just a fatty deposit, similar to the one he had removed several years earlier with no complications.

After the doctor felt the cyst and expressed his concern, Singer was referred to a local surgeon for a nipple biopsy. Michael brought his wife Patty with him to give him strength for facing his fears of needles and potentially being diagnosed.

Surgeon Anibal Puente wasn’t even able to get enough fluid through the needle, so Michael was scheduled for a surgical biopsy the following day at Westchester Square Hospital.

After waking up groggy in the recovery room following the procedure, Puente stated that he didn’t like what he saw. Singer informed his wife that night, still unaware that male breast cancer was the culprit.

Michael and his wife went back to the doctor’s office the following week. He met with Puente’s associate Dr. Reynolds, the same doctor who removed his fatty cyst eight years earlier. Reynolds’ demeanor was much different after coming back with Singer’s file.

It was then that Dr. Reynolds gave Singer the news that a 2.2 cm tumor was discovered under his left nipple and the doctor diagnosed Michael Singer with breast cancer.

“As the doctor was explaining, I was floored and didn’t understand what he was talking about, as I had never heard of men getting breast cancer,” said Michael. I had been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.”

Michael was scheduled for surgery.

Now that he’s healthy again, Michael’s aim is to spread male breast cancer awareness to other men, especially since Male Breast Cancer Week, the third week in October, is approaching.

“The ultimate goal is to spread the word that men can get breast cancer too. Men should check themselves routinely, as well as be aware that early detection is a key to surviving this deadly disease.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgood‌stein‌@cngl‌ocal.com.

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