Heather Salerno wrote this inspiring profile on Theodor “Ted” Brown of Irvington for the Sunday Life section of Oct. 9, 2011:
Breast cancer never crossed the mind of Theodor “Ted” Brown when he pointed out a pimple-sized bump on his right breast during an annual physical.
Even his doctor didn’t think it was serious, though he urged Brown to get it checked out. A biopsy revealed that Brown was indeed in the first stage of the disease, making him a member of an exclusive — and unfortunate — fraternity. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about one in a 1,000, compared to the one in eight women who will be diagnosed at some time in their lives.
The condition is so rare that Brown, a 59-year-old dentist who lives in Irvington, didn’t believe the diagnosis at first. After the biopsy results came back, he paid to have the test redone at three different laboratories.
“I don’t think guys think it’s a possibility,” he says. “It’s really thought of as a woman’s disease.”
Photos by Tania Savayan / The Journal News
In Brown’s case, the disease was caught early, though he did have to undergo a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. He’s still taking tamoxifen, a cancer-fighting drug, but he’ll celebrate six years of being cancer-free in December.
Brown says that he’s not ashamed to share his story, though some male patients report being too embarrassed to tell others. He wants other men to know that breast cancer is a possibility — and that they should always look into any potential medical problem.
“I could have ignored it, totally ignored it,” he says. “But when (my doctor) said, ‘Maybe you should get it checked out,’ why not? When in doubt, why not? What do you have to lose?”
There are plenty of ways that breast cancer changed Ted Brown’s life. After the jump, 10 more examples of how the disease affected him.