A Blue Dot in a Sea of Pink
“You have breast cancer”. That’s a terrible thing for anyone to hear and if you’re male, a diagnosis you never expect. But that’s just what happened to Scott Wright. Now cancer free, he’s been through a lot in the last year not only with surgery and chemo, but in getting the word out to other men that they too can get breast cancer. Most men have a hard time admitting it, but not Scott. He took a different approach.
While going thru his treatment, Scott quickly learned that there was an immense void in the world of male breast cancer awareness. “Too little was being said and done in this area”, he said. “It was clear that lack of awareness has been contributing to late detection and deaths among men. There’s a lot of emotion that comes with getting diagnosed with any form of cancer. I decided to focus that emotion into trying to change some of the misperceptions about male breast disease. The Komen Twin Cities 5K event was scheduled for 2 weeks after I would complete chemotherapy. I wanted to bring a team together for it to celebrate the end of chemo and to inform people that “men get breast cancer too”. From the day I was first diagnosed, I said I felt like a “blue dot in a sea of pink”. That sparked the idea for the blue shirts. The Blue Team was a great way to immediately convey the male breast cancer awareness message. Men appreciate and identify better with blue, and rally around the Team concept. We are now working on building Blue Teams for breast cancer events around the country. The Blue Team shirts bear the website address of the John W. Nick Foundation. The Blue Team concept of “Add Blue to the Ribbon” comes from them (www.johnwnickfoundation.org/pinkandblueribbon.html)”.
The Blue Team attends breast cancer conferences and events around the country to raise awareness of male breast cancer, directs people to the John W. Nick Foundation, the only national non-profit devoted exclusively to MBC, provides an immediate support network to men who have been diagnosed and their families, helps in fundraising for the Nick Foundation, and collaborates with other breast cancer organizations (including Susan G. Komen, Avon/Army of Women, the Breast Cancer Awareness Association, among others). The Komen Twin Cities executive team has been very supportive of the Blue Team efforts (although they don’t provide any financial support).
Scott’s now on his way to recovery. “I’m feeling good”, he said. “I’m back to work, have scans and follow-up appointments scheduled every 90 days to evaluate how I’m doing and to watch for any recurrence. I’ll also have to take Tamoxifen (a drug proven successful in treating the recurrence of breast cancer) for the next 5 years. The Blue Team’s getting bigger all the time and that’s what’s important so more men are made aware and get diagnosed earlier”.
For more information about Scott and male breast cancer, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/scottwright.