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Interview with Richard Simon – a Survivor of Male Breast Cancer

Interview with Richard Simon - A Survivor of Male Breast Cancer

In the realm of breast cancer awareness, the narrative often centres around women, given its prevalence in that demographic. However, breast cancer does not discriminate based on gender, as evidenced by Richard Simon’s remarkable journey as a male breast cancer survivor. Recently, Debbie had the privilege of speaking with Richard, who generously shared his experience battling this rare but impactful disease.

Richard’s story begins like many others—unexpectedly. At the age of 29, with a career in retail operations and marriage on the horizon, he discovered a nodule on his chest. It was his fiancée who first noticed the abnormality. “My wife was inspecting my chest and found this nodule, which I hadn’t even noticed,” Richard recalled. This discovery led swiftly to medical attention, a consultation with an oncologist, and ultimately, surgery to remove the cancerous growth.

Reflecting on his diagnosis, Richard admitted he didn’t know it could affect men, “No, I mean, obviously when you were told you’ve got it, you realise other people must’ve had it, but to me, it was just a women’s procedure.” This sentiment echoes a common misconception about breast cancer—it’s often seen as exclusively affecting women.

The treatment journey for Richard was gruelling, particularly given the era. “The old radiotherapy is nothing like I believe it is today,” he explained. The radiotherapy left him with a compromised lung, requiring careful attention during illnesses. Following radiation, Richard embarked on nearly 40 years of tamoxifen treatment, a medication now widely used in breast cancer care.

Through it all, Richard maintained a stoic outlook, emphasising the importance of supportive relationships. “My fiancée and now wife, family, and friends were very supportive,” he shared. This network of care was vital during a time when resources and awareness around male breast cancer were scarce.

When asked about the most challenging aspect of dealing with breast cancer as a man, Richard humorously recounted the difficulties of casual situations like pool visits, where the physical impact of surgery was visible. “Loosely, going to take your T-shirt off when you’re going by the swimming pool. Because I’ve got a nipple on one side but not a nipple that side,” he recalled.

Despite the challenges, Richard’s advice to those facing a similar diagnosis is simple yet profound: “Get it sorted immediately.” His words are underscored by a personal commitment to health and wellness. “I look after myself. I have check-ups, blood tests for prostate cancer, and all the others,” he affirmed.

Richard’s story highlights the importance of awareness and proactive health management. “It is always good practice to regularly check your chest,” Debbie emphasised. “If you have any unusual symptoms, go to your GP straightaway.”

Reflecting on his journey, Richard expressed a wish for greater support resources during his initial diagnosis. “Somewhere like this organisation, if that was around, would’ve helped me in the knowledge of what was going to go on,” he mused.

Click below to watch the full interview!

In conclusion, Richard’s resilience and optimism shine as displays of hope. His journey underscores the importance of early detection, support networks, and personal agency in navigating the complexities of cancer. Richard’s words of wisdom echo beyond his own experience, resonating with anyone facing a similar health challenge: “Don’t be worried about it, don’t be worried what other people think—just get it sorted.”

Richard Simon’s story is a testament to the courage and the enduring spirit of those who confront cancer head-on. As we strive for greater awareness and support, let us carry forward Richard’s message: proactive health and unwavering determination pave the path to triumph over adversity!

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