Orange County man raises awareness about male breast cancer
Michael Singer is a proud breast cancer survivor, but when he was first diagnosed with the disease in 2012, the Orange County man who lived in the Bronx at the time, couldn't even bring himself to tell his doctor he had a lump.
"Men don't talk about their breast, I was ignoring it kinda," he said.
On a follow up visit, he got the news that he had stage 2 breast cancer.
"I couldn't comprehend it, my head was exploding," said the Cuddebackville man. "I'm a guy, how could it be? Am I a freak? How can I have breast cancer. My only experience with it was my sister and unfortunately she only survived one year with metastatic breast cancer and she was gone."
On top of the fear of dying, was the fear of telling people he was battling breast cancer.
"Everybody wants to know what kind of cancer I couldn't say breast cancer, I called it chest cancer," Singer said.
One in 833 men will be diagnosed with the disease in the lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
"It took me quite a while to get over the stigma of being a man with breast cancer because there wasn't information out there," Singer said. "Nobody talked about it. You go to women's care centers for mammograms, everything is in pink."
Singer said he finally got the courage to talk about his breast cancer after seeing other men tell their stories on TV.
Now cancer free, Michael is a staunch advocate for male breast cancer awareness and is fighting the stigma by telling his story.
"I go for annual mammograms, or as I like to call them, man-o-grams," he said. "We talked about all the literature is pink, but I'd like to see that change someday."
He is also encouraging men to check for signs of breast cancer which include lumps or swelling, skin dimpling, nipple retraction and discharge from the nipple.