A cancer scare six years ago led Len to be vigilant about his health. So, when he felt a sharp pain in his chest, he immediately went to his doctor. A biopsy revealed it was stage II breast cancer.
“I thought I was going to die,” he said, remembering his initial reaction.
Soon after learning of his diagnosis, Len had a double mastectomy and eight rounds of chemotherapy. While it was difficult for him to wrap his head around the fact that he had breast cancer, as a teacher, he didn’t want to miss an opportunity to educate other men about the importance of taking charge of their health.
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“Every chance I get, I tell men to take care of themselves,” he said. “Go to the doctor. Don’t be afraid.”
Music has played a major role in Len’s life. He is a music teacher with five degrees under his belt. Throughout treatment, he sang in the hospital choir alongside patients and doctors.
“My voice was behaving in ways I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager,” he said, describing how it changed because of treatment. “I couldn’t sing the way I normally did, but people said it was beautiful.”
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The choir rallied around him during this tough time. He sought solace in his medical team, who assured him his treatment would be successful and that he would regain his strength—and voice.
“I learned I could still sing and have hope that I was going to get through it,” he said.
Today, Len, who is a member of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, is back at work and still sharing his story. He hopes his experience can open others’ eyes about male breast cancer and why research into the disease is so critical.
“Thanks to research, my doctors knew exactly how to treat my kind of cancer,” he said. “Research is the reason I have something to sing about.”
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