31 Days of Impact – Day 21, Mark Goldstein

The story of breast cancer is the story of people. Learn about Komen’s impact and work in the fight against breast cancer as told through the eyes of breast cancer survivors, researchers, community health workers and advocates. Read more stories.

MARK GOLDSTEIN, NEW JERSEY– Breast Cancer Survivor, Conqueror and Advocate

“Running amongst a sea of pink, survivors and supporters were surprised to see me running and I told them, “I’m just like you! I’ve gone through surgery, chemo and radiation, too!”

“Susan G. Komen has given me the ability to reach thousands of men and women at Races around the country and the world to help and inspire them in their own breast cancer journey.”

“Men should not die from breast cancer out of ignorance and it is my honor to help, educate and inspire my fellow fighters, survivors and conquerors.”

I’ve dealt and overcome multiple episodes with skin cancer in my lifetime, yet in February, 1988, when I noticed something more unusual with my left nipple – it began pulling inward – in typical male fashion, I did nothing!  Only until three months had passed did I finally figure out that something other than skin cancer might be going on. I had breast cancer; I never thought I’d have to worry about breast cancer as a 55-year-old man.

My mammogram results were inconclusive and after seeing three doctors locally, I proceeded to seek out a male breast cancer specialist in New York City. I can’t tell you how much empathy I felt for women.  She advised that I have the lump removed, rather than do a biopsy, so we went ahead with the surgery and I was hopeful that all would go smoothly. This was in May of 1988, and following the procedure I continued with my life mindful I still had a fight ahead but in no way, shape or form was I feeling defeated. In fact, the day I was discharged from the hospital, I made my first act of defiance, I mowed the lawn and throughout my entire course of treatment I never missed a day of work.

In September of 1992, I came to the “Race for the Cure” by way of rejection. I signed up my family for the New York City Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We arrived early that morning wearing our t-shirts and race numbers and to my disbelief, I was told that I couldn’t run because I was a man and the Race was “for women only!” Things have changed a lot since then – running amongst a female sea of pink, survivors and supporters were surprised to see me running and I told them, “I’m just like you! I went through surgery, chemo and radiation, too!” It was a real turning point for me and my family. Having never run any more than for a commuter train or in an airport terminal, I wanted to race in more Races, bring more awareness to men and the disease – and with Komen, as a Komen Ambassador to the Race for the Cure series, we’ve made this mission possible.

I’m in the fourth quarter of my life and what better way to spend that, than to try to serve your fellow “man.” I’m a person of “faith.” I believe God has put me on this path, not pushing me, just gently nudging me along the way as opportunities arise.

To date, I’ve run in 223 Races visiting Komen Race for the Cure events across the country and around the world to share my story and give a voice to other men fighting this disease. In 2003, I was named as one of the Yoplait 25 Champions for my contribution to breast cancer awareness and advocacy. In 2005, I was honored by Susan G. Komen and the National Distance Running Hall of Fame with the fourth annual Suzy Komen Award and featured as one of several runners in Runners World’s 2006 “Heroes of Running” issue.

Men should not die from breast cancer out of ignorance and it is my honor to help, educate and inspire my fellow fighters, survivors and conquerors.

Please visit my website and give me a hug at our next “Race for the Cure.”

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About the author

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Susan G. Komen has written 275 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

  • Susan Sonley

    I am in 100% support of you and all you’ve done to change the way the world looks at men’s breast cancers! As a two time survivor, I know what you’ve been through and it was every bit as hard as any woman’s battle. thank you for your support of SGK! Mark, your courage in speaking out had me at ‘hello’! :)

  • Ellie

    What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it and making us more aware of the cancer world we live in.