Chicago Rapper Shares Male Breast Cancer Fight
Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson. The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans. Please feel free to send them questions via firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to keep it anonymous.
A proud husband, father, and hip-hop recording artist, Antwone Muhammad is on a mission. An accomplished lyricist who has worked with Kanye West, Erick Sermon and many other hip-hop icons, this Chicago native is now using his gifts to educate others about his journey with breast cancer and how to be proactive about your health. He is determined to use his test as a testimony to share with the world.
JET: Tell us a little bit about how you came to know you had breast cancer. What symptoms were you having?
Muhammad: I was doing a wellness tour in 2011. I weighed 260 pounds and I wanted to take the time to start getting my health in order and exercising every day. I then began noticing fluid discharge from my left nipple every time I would get off the treadmill. I also had nipple sensitivity when wearing t-shirts.
JET: Did you feel that your doctors were apprehensive about making this diagnosis because you were so young and male didn’t fit the “typical” breast cancer patient profile?
Muhammad: Yes. Originally when I went to get it checked out at the ER, they did an x-ray and told me not to worry about it and to just keep an eye on it. I was set up for an ultrasound and it was found that I had multiple cysts forming but again I was told that it was nothing to worry about and to keep an eye on it.
JET: How long did it take for a formal breast cancer diagnosis to be made?
Muhammad: A year and a half later I was at the dinner table and began noticing more fluid. I went to another ER and had multiple tests. I had a mammogram and biopsy and was then given the diagnosis of breast cancer.
JET: What stage were you at diagnosis?
Muhammad: Stage 3
JET: How did your diagnosis impact you mentally, spiritually, and professionally?
Muhammad: At the time of my diagnosis, I was confused. I didn’t know why God put this on me. But then I realized that God was using me as a tool to show everyone that all things are possible through Him. As a hip-hop artist I used my resources to do a musical documentary album called The Tumor to use as a teaching tool.
JET: What has been the hardest part about your journey?
Muhammad: Getting through the treatments. I wouldn’t wish chemotherapy on my worst enemy.
JET: Often times our Black men don’t go to the doctor. What would you like to tell other young Black men about the importance of maintaining their health?
Muhammad: We don’t practice preventative health. We don’t understand the importance of having a doctor and a medical home. We feel like we are Superman and don’t go to the doctor until something is wrong. I’ve learned from this and now I want to use my testimony to prevent others from bearing the cross that I’m bearing.
It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!
About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show. For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!