Breast Cancer Stole the Lives of my Father & Sister

During the holiday season, and every day, Janis Dubin reflects on the impact breast cancer can have on every family member – male, female, sisters and parents. 

Susan G. Komen has made such strides in supporting women in the fight against breast cancer. This disease has gone from a shameful killer, lurking in the shadows, to an often curable disease exposed to the light of day.  

But along the way, this has been known as a woman’s disease, and as I held my sister’s dying hand, I felt the enormous support around her.

Ten years later, wanting to  boogie board with his grandsons, my father had to overcome the shame of bearing his mastectomy scars. I realized how alone men are in fighting this woman’s disease.  

Breast cancer stole the lives of my father and my sister, and it didn’t treat them differently because of gender, but the world did. My sister was met with sympathy and support, while my father was met with shock and embarrassment. He had enough to carry, watching his health and life slip away while there was so much living left to do. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t save his life, but I promised to take every chance I could find to speak out for all the men who fight this disease.  

Today, I speak out for my father, and for all men who are fighting and have fought this “woman’s” disease.  Breast cancer knows no boundaries  when it comes to gender.  It takes lives of the the people we love without discrimination.  Susan G. Komen has done amazing work not only to provide healthcare, research and screening, but to provide support.  To shine light in a place of darkness.  

I dedicate my mission to remind us all that our fathers and brothers, sons and husbands also deserve to be brought into the light.  

Janis Dubin


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