Ronald Rapaport was enjoying the retired life in Florida when he was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in January of 2019. Having worked as a pharmacist for many years, he had a strong medical background, but wasn’t expecting a cancer diagnosis when he finally got checked.
“I had noticed that my left nipple was retracting in a bit,” he recalled during a recent conversation; “I didn’t think much of it at first. I thought I had just bumped into something or run into the car door. I certainly wasn’t thinking about male breast cancer.”
The first doctor Ron visited suggested he get a mammogram, but that was inconclusive. The hospital followed up with a sonogram and finally a biopsy, which showed that he did indeed have cancer.
“Being a male, there aren’t too many others who have it,” Ron explained; “Even I thought of it as a woman’s disease. That’s when I was first introduced to the concept of being a blue dot in a sea of pink.”
Ron’s surgery was scheduled for February, but he needed to get some dental work done before because the doctors didn’t want him undergoing any procedures following the mastectomy. “When I went to the dentist, the technician asked me what kind of cancer surgery I was having and I told her breast cancer. She started laughing because she thought I was joking,” Ron remembered; “I said to myself: people shouldn’t be laughing about this. Men can get breast cancer, too. That’s when I knew I needed to be an advocate for others.”
After his surgery, Ron contacted the Male Breast Cancer Coalition and volunteered to help the organization. “I do health fairs and talk to breast cancer support groups, which are mostly women, and I always tell them about Ciitizen,” he stated. Ron was introduced to Ciitizen through the MBCC and he loved the idea of having all his medical records in one place, especially the cancer summary. Recently when Ron started seeing a new doctor for imaging studies, he quickly and easily shared his records using his Ciitizen profile. “I also like it for traveling,” Ron added; “If anything happens while I’m on the road I can share my information immediately with any doctor.”
As of late, Ron’s been using social media to spread awareness about the need for male breast cancer patients to donate their data for better research. “I’ve been going on the Facebook page to encourage these guys to sign up for the #100strong campaign,” he explained; “Once the brothers sign up for this, researchers can request information and allow these guys to get the medical data they need. Without Ciitizen it would take forever to collect all that data.”
In addition, Ron’s been busy raising money for advocacy groups like MBCC. “Every year they do a fundraiser called Real Men Wear Pink. Here in Jacksonville, we raised $180K alone.”
Join Ron and the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, and sign up with Ciitizen to take control of your health data and help advance important research for Male Breast Cancer. Want more information about how it works? Join the Ciitizen team today, 6/18 at 1 PM PST for a virtual Onboarding Event to see a live demo of how Ciitizen works, get all of your questions answered, and learn how you can take control of your health data and contribute to research.