by Khevin Barnes
The Orphans of October: A male breast cancer survivor finds his family
October is a month of movement and change. It was originally the eighth month in the old Roman calendar (Octo meaning eight) until January and February got pushed ahead of it, but by then the name was firmly implanted in the minds and hearts of humankind.
It’s also a month of profound “pinkness” as women the world over remember “Breast Cancer Awareness” and join together in an impressive union of empowered sisterhood.
As a man with breast cancer, I salute and support the women of the world in their quest to bring awareness, information and ultimately a cure to survivors everywhere.
I was once asked if I was troubled by the cloak of pink that surrounds the breast cancer experience.
My answer was an emphatic “no”. After all, it’s no fault of women that male breast cancer goes relatively unnoticed because it is an orphan disease accounting for just 1% of all breast cancer cases. And it’s no one’s fault that men are reluctant to talk about their breast cancer, slow to get diagnosed and more likely to die from it because of our belated behaviors and awkward attitudes toward our breasts.
I’m not a man basher. But I am a man with breast cancer and I believe that, like the women of the world, guys need to join hands, puff up their chests (what’s left of them at any rate) and stand together in October to bring encouragement and comradery to our breast cancer brothers. And sisters.
Pink is not a belief or a method. It’s not a condition. It’s a symbolic emblem of a powerful feminine coalition. And male breast cancer survivors don’t need a pink pass to join in with this celebration of life and longevity which after all is the ultimate goal of cancer survivors around the world, both men and women.
Guy’s, we’re already members of this formidable club. We just need to raise our hand and then our voices and support all who are burdened with this disease of the breast.
So, let October shine like a star on our calendar, and illuminate the months and years to follow, so that we may all see our way to a world that is one day multi-colored and cancer free.
Khevin Barnes is a breast cancer survivor, speaker and Laughter Yoga Teacher. He produces a free webinar three times yearly called “Breast Cancer and Laughter Summit” featuring 25 speakers who utilize laughter and comedy in their health and healing. The next program runs October 21,22,23. Register free at www.BreastCancerAndLaughterSummit.com