Chiropractic care is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to overall wellness and healing that focuses on correcting issues with your musculoskeletal system. When performed by a licensed chiropractor, it can alleviate and even eliminate common problems such as:
To treat your conditions and help reduce your pain, chiropractors use time-tested, hands-on techniques to adjust your spine, neck, back, and other joints throughout your body to restore proper function, mobility, and alignment. Once your body is in proper alignment, it functions optimally, leading to improved overall wellness and health.
Unlike some sports rehab clinics in The Garden State, chiropractors from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness work with you one-on-one to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific goals and needs relating to your pain and ability to live a normal life. Because our team takes a holistic approach to healthcare, we cover all aspects of your health and wellness when developing your chiropractic treatment plan. That way, we increase your chances of living a fulfilling life free of pain and worry about throwing your back out.
Seeing a chiropractor can quite literally change your life for the better. According to the American Chiropractic Association, in general, chiropractic therapy is a more effective solution for back pain than other treatments like addictive pain pills, surgeries, and yoga. When combined with services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and acupuncture, chiropractic care may be the key you need to open the door to a pain-free life.Shedule An Appointment
Some of the many benefits of seeing a reliable, licensed chiropractor include the following:
Perhaps the most obvious reason to make an appointment with a chiropractor is for back pain relief. Some people only need to see a chiropractor when they have occasional back pain, such as when they wake up in the morning. Others, such as those who have been in serious car accidents, need regular chiropractic adjustments and therapies, which are often supplemented with techniques like physical therapy and acupuncture.
There are many causes of back pain that range from advanced conditions like having sciatica and herniated discs to everyday issues like poor posture and sleeping in a harmful position. Your chiropractor's job is to pinpoint the cause(s) of your back pain and build a customized plan to address your musculoskeletal conditions. Once that happens, pain relief follows shortly after.
At New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, we craft personalized chiropractic plans for every patient we treat, with the goal of avoiding harmful surgeries and addictive medicines.
If you've never experienced a headache in your life, you're exceedingly rare. Just about every American will suffer from a headache at some point or another. For some, headaches only happen occasionally and are not much more than an annoyance. For others, headaches evolve into crippling migraines that can affect quality of life, ability to work, and much more.
If you find yourself digging into a bottle of Aspirin or something stronger when you have a headache, it might be time to visit an NJSSW chiropractor.
Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you didn't sleep a wink the previous night? Do you have to take sleep aides like Ambien in order to drift off to dreamland? If you have chronic back pain, getting a full night's rest is easier said than done. From misaligned spines to improper sleeping posture, your chiropractor in Interlaken can use manipulation therapy and other techniques to boost blood flow and align your vertebrae, so your body can heal itself and help you rest better.
One of the best things about seeing your chiropractor is that when your session is over, you often feel great. The pain relief feels phenomenal. When you're not in pain, you have a more positive outlook on life, and often enjoy better sleep, blood pressure, and even sexual relations. It makes sense, then, that chiropractic care has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, which promotes relaxation and improved mental health.
At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we work with a long list of athletes who suffer from sports injuries and other problems that can manifest from being active. For professional athletes, having a trustworthy chiropractor to care for them is needed for their careers. But you don't have to be a pro athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. Ordinary people that enjoy active lifestyles can reap tremendous rewards through chiropractic care, such as improved range of motion and relief from compressed discs.
Whether you enjoy impromptu games of tag football or simply want to play with your kids, seeing a chiropractor can help you be healthy and active without fighting back, neck, and joint pain. That's especially true when chiropractic therapy is used in conjunction with acupuncture, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.ies and addictive medicines.
Your NJ Sports Spine & Wellness chiropractor in Interlaken may use a range of techniques to restore function and alignment in your body. Some of the most common techniques our chiropractors use include:
Life has a habit of being unexpected. Sure, some surprises only hurt your bank account, like last-minute renovations in your home. But severe incidents, like car accidents, can inflict physical injuries that cause you long-term pain. These problems, like neck and back injuries, affect many Americans daily. Even worse, many hardworking people turn to risky surgeries and addictive pain medications, only to find themselves deep in a hole that seems impossible to get out of.
If you suffer from serious range-of-motion issues or you're in chronic pain, it's important to know that you have treatment choices. You don't have to put your health at risk to relieve your pain. One of the most successful non-invasive treatments offered for pain is physical therapy. The main goal of physical therapy is to restore movement and function to patients affected by illness, injury, or disability.
Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and abilities, from children to elderly adults, to help them overcome physical limitations and improve their quality of life. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists help treat a wide range of conditions, from neck pain and spinal cord injuries to back pain and arthritis.
Once our PTs have made headway, they will often use our chiropractic therapy to provide the patient with more relief. Having the option of both chiropractic and physical therapy is often very effective, because your chiropractor in Interlaken can address nerve irritation and joint dysfunction while your physical therapist helps retrain your musculoskeletal system, allowing your body to heal faster.
Some of the biggest benefits of using physical therapy along with chiropractic care include:
Occupational therapy, or OT, is to help patients of all ages and abilities engage in activities of daily living, or ADL. Often, that means helping patients reclaim the ability to continue working, going to school, accomplishing day-to-day tasks, or other activities common to daily living.
Occupational therapy can benefit individuals going through many conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and chronic pain. The end goal of occupational therapy is to help patients achieve the maximum level of independence and participation in their daily lives. If pain, discomfort, weakness, fatigue, or fear prevent you from participating in activities you love, an OT from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness could become the MVP of your wellness journey.
To give our patients the most complete pain relief and recovery options, our doctors and practitioners will often lean on the expertise of both a physical therapist and a chiropractor in Interlaken. By working together, your PT, OT, and chiropractor can provide you with a comprehensive approach to total-body functionality, from your spine and joints to your mind and range of motion.
Some of the most common benefits of using OT with chiropractic care include:
Acupuncture boosts your body's functions and helps improve its ability to heal through anatomic site stimulation - usually called acupuncture points or acupoints. To stimulate these points, acupuncturists at NJ Sports Spine & Wellness insert fine, sterile needles into your skin. Most patients don't feel any pain as needles are applied. Typically, needles are left in the skin up to 30 minutes. After your session, it's normal to feel incredibly relaxed.
While some practitioners still adhere to traditional philosophies, modern acupuncturists take an integrative approach to the therapy. Today, professional acupuncturists use these techniques to stimulate your body's natural healing and pain-fighting processes. When coupled with personalized care from a chiropractor in Interlaken as well as physical or occupational therapy, you can find real relief from the physical and emotional roadblocks holding you back. Some of the most reported benefits of acupuncture treatment include:
During an acupuncture session, you may feel a slight sensation of warmth or tingling at the needle's site of insertion. Generally speaking, acupuncture is painless and perfectly safe for you to consider. In fact, many practitioners and doctors recommend combining acupuncture with other treatment options like chiropractic adjustments.
Though acupuncture and chiropractic therapies come from different origins, both include non-invasive, holistic, and gentle approaches that don't require drugs to work. They also both facilitate total-body healing by addressing the underlying causes of your symptoms - not just the symptoms themselves.
Because acupuncture is known to release endorphins and improve blood flow, having a session prior to a chiropractic adjustment can be very beneficial. That's because, after acupuncture, your muscles are less stiff, more relaxed, and easier to adjust effectively. Over time, as you combine acupuncture and chiropractic therapy, you'll benefit from less inflammation and less pain as you heal from injuries or musculoskeletal conditions. That same truth applies to patients who undergo serious chiropractic adjustments.
At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our staff consists of licensed and highly-trained professionals, including specialists focusing on:
Every member of our team believes that the path to wellness and a pain-free life begins with customized treatment plans that cater to your needs and body. Unlike some chiropractors in Interlaken, we do not treat on-the-surface symptoms with one-size-fits-all therapies. We do not rely on powerful pain medications to mask your pain or invasive surgeries that require weeks of recovery. Instead, we address the root causes of your pain so that we can help you live the happy, healthy life you're craving.
To achieve that goal, we'll conduct an in-depth evaluation to learn about your medical history. We'll also perform diagnostic tests and speak with you one-on-one to get a better sense of your needs. From there, we'll recommend the therapies that can give you a new lease on life and be there for every milestone you hit.
If you're fed up of living with the limits of pain and lack of mobility, we're here to help you break free. Contact our office today to get started.
(23/P022) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding 23 Urban and Community Forestry grants totaling $1,106,934 to local governments and non-profit organizations to help municipalities advance the stewardship of their urban and community trees and forests, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.Awarded through a competitive process since 2000, the DEP’s Urban and Community Forestry grants assist in the establishment and growth of local, self-sustaining urban and community fo...
(23/P022) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding 23 Urban and Community Forestry grants totaling $1,106,934 to local governments and non-profit organizations to help municipalities advance the stewardship of their urban and community trees and forests, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.
Awarded through a competitive process since 2000, the DEP’s Urban and Community Forestry grants assist in the establishment and growth of local, self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs. With proper care and maintenance, trees in community and urban settings can be healthy and live many decades. Today’s announcement is made on the International Day of Forests, which the United Nations General Assembly established in 2012 to raise awareness about the importance of forests.
“The stewardship of urban trees has never been more important than now, especially as New Jersey continues to experience the adverse impacts of a changing climate,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “These grants will help improve the urban tree canopy throughout the state providing ecosystem services, reducing heat island effects and improving human health. Proper planning and management of trees and forests also mitigates storm water and other flooding, as well as air pollution.”
“Trees and forests are important to New Jerseyans on so many levels. Trees store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases and energy use, which lessens the impacts of climate change and strengthens the resilience of towns and cities, said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “It is a priority of the New Jersey Forest Service to not only plant trees in communities and urban areas, but to ensure their long-term survival through proper planning, care and management.”
Reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $598,216 have been awarded to:
Bergen County: Bogota ($40,000), Englewood ($66,830) Burlington County: Moorestown ($8,000) Hunterdon County: Clinton Town ($25,000) Middlesex County: Highland Park ($150,000) and East Brunswick Township ($30,000) Monmouth County: Interlaken Shade Tree Commission ($42,150) Morris County: Pequannock Township Department of Public Works ($50,000) Passaic County: Clifton ($49,026) Somerset County: Somerville ($137,210)
Resiliency planning grants totaling $508,718 have been awarded to:
Bergen County: Ramsey ($20,000) Camden County: Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission ($50,000) Essex County: Caldwell ($11,258) and Essex County ($20,000) Hunterdon County: Lambertville ($37,000) and Readington Township Environmental Commission ($50,000) Mercer County: Trenton ($50,000) and Princeton ($50,000) Morris County: Morris County Park Commission ($50,000) Monmouth County: Long Branch ($50,000) and Millstone Township ($50,000) Warren County: Lopatcong ($46,145) and Belvidere ($24,315)
Grant recipients may use their awards for a variety of projects such as community tree inventories, risk tree assessments, storm assessments, tree planting and establishment, and reforestation. Local governments also use the grants to manage impacts from invasive species such as emerald ash borer, an invasive tree-killing beetle causing widespread losses of ash trees nationwide.
“A comprehensive local urban and community forestry program provides environmental, social and economic benefits,” said Todd Wyckoff, New Jersey State Forester. “An urban tree canopy is part of a community’s infrastructure and creates valuable environmental, economic and social benefits. Communities that are accredited with the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program have a Community Forestry Management Plan, participate in required training and education programs, and report back to the program on their accomplishments every year.”
Currently, 253 municipalities and counties across New Jersey have management plans for trees and forests approved by the New Jersey Forest Service, 152 of which are fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program. The program hopes to announce a new round of grants in 2023 aimed at urban and community tree inventory to help inform local management decisions moving forward.
For more information about the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, including details on accreditation with the program, visit www.communityforestry.nj.gov
Like the New Jersey Forest Service on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests
For more information on how to purchase the Treasure Our Trees commercial or passenger vehicle license plate, which funds the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry grants, visit https://nj.gov/mvc/vehicles/treasure.htm
For more about Urban and Community Forestry Stewardship grants and related programs, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/urbanandcommunity/grants.html
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep
PHOTO: Forester Levon Bigelow inspecting a tree planted under a NJUCF stewardship grant.
New Jersey is known for having its own language. How many times do we all get asked by outsiders what the heck a "Wawa" is?Besides the NJ-specific "weird odysseys" like Wawa, scrapple, and pork roll, NJ also serves as home to towns with some pretty interesting names. What's worse than their names is the way you pronounce them. Some of the names look like they'd be pronounced the way you say the word.Sources report, though, that's obviously ...
New Jersey is known for having its own language. How many times do we all get asked by outsiders what the heck a "Wawa" is?
Besides the NJ-specific "weird odysseys" like Wawa, scrapple, and pork roll, NJ also serves as home to towns with some pretty interesting names. What's worse than their names is the way you pronounce them. Some of the names look like they'd be pronounced the way you say the word.
Sources report, though, that's obviously not always the case.
Have you ever heard of it? Mt. Ephraim is located up the Atlantic City Expressway towards Philly in Camden County. It's tempting to want to pronounce the 'e' in like 'eh'. However, this town's name is Mount 'ee-from', not Mount 'Eff-rum'. Long 'e', people! You'll hear people say it both ways, but make sure you're someone on the right side of the fence.
Buena and Buena Vista
It's not pronounced the Spanish way. Pronounce the 'ue' part of the word like you'd say "you". So, B(you)na. Or, as NJ.com writes, "Byoona"
Oaklyn is another town in Camden County. If you're familiar with Runnemede, then from there, you're not too far away. In Bergen County, there's Oakland (pronounced Oak-lind), however, this is Oaklyn (oak-lin). That won't stop people from adding the 'd' at the end, though.
AbseconAbsecon, located in Atlantic County, is not an uncommon one for people to mess up. It's not Ab-sick-on, it's Ab-seek-en. Don't trust your GPS, especially if you use Apple Maps. It says the former, which is INCORRECT. Thanks for playing though, Apple.
This one isn't normally mispronounced by Atlantic County natives, but some NJ residents completely fail to acknowledge the 'n' in the name and say 'brig-uh-teen'. As if it were spelled B-r-i-g-a-t-i-n-e. There's an 'n' in there, folks. It's Brig-an-teen. BrigaNtine. Brigantine. There ya go, you're welcome.
A Bergen County town is the latest in the state to consider a rooster ban due to noise complaints, according to a report.The Fair Lawn Borough Council is considering regulating against the male chickens as domestic animals, NorthJersey.com ...
A Bergen County town is the latest in the state to consider a rooster ban due to noise complaints, according to a report.
The Fair Lawn Borough Council is considering regulating against the male chickens as domestic animals, NorthJersey.com reported while citing Councilwoman Gail Rottenstrich, who said there had been a couple of concerns over the noise they create.
Regulations for keeping chickens vary by municipality, as do outright bans on roosters as backyard animals for residential property around the state.
The following handful of Garden State communities already have put their figurative foot down, against poultry — or at least roosters.
Aberdeen allows up to eight female chickens on a 22,500 sq. foot property. For larger properties, the maximum is 12 hens — no roosters are allowed on any domestic property. The chicken enclosure needs to be 20 feet from any neighboring residence, and 20 feet from any area of storm drainage.
Glen Ridge allows for up to 8 hens on a property, no roosters. The borough ordinance calls for a minimum, 4-foot-high fenced, enclosed yard and the chicken coop must be at least 10 feet from property lines.
As of December 2021, Haddonfield has amended its local code to allow for the keeping of "backyard chickens," but roosters are banned. Chicken coops and enclosed chicken runs must be set back at least 20 feet from any residence owned by another, and the coop must be at least 5 feet from any property line.
Jersey City allows for up to 50 chickens, with the proper license, as long as they are kept at least 25 feet away from any other residence. Roosters appear to be restricted under the local code.
Keyport allows up to six hens on a property, with an annual permit for chickens, but roosters are banned.
Maplewood has been allowing up to 15 households to each keep up to five chickens, with no roosters allowed. Before applying for a permit to participate in the program, each interested household must secure the written consent of all next-door property owners.
Millburn allows up to four chickens by permit, with a required coop at least 20 feet from any property line of an adjacent property and 20 feet from the home. Under the ordinance, no free-range chickens and no roosters are allowed.
The Middle Township Committee had introduced a measure to restrict residents from owning roosters, but several attendees at a September 2021 meeting spoke on behalf on the sometimes noisy animals — and the restrictions were tabled, as reported by the Cape May County Herald.
Ridgewood's ordinance calls for chickens to be allowed by permit, while banning roosters or “screaming or chattering fowl.” The local ordinance says coops must be at least 50 feet from a neighbor's home or any place where people congregate, and at least 200 feet away from any food establishment. Coops must also be at least 10 feet from property lines.
Chicken are among a short list of animals (along with ducks, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs and horses) that are banned from ownership in Woodbridge. The township Department of Health and Human Services may consider and review, in its sole discretion, certain requests for a special permit.
Special to the Asbury Park PressLOCH ARBOUR - Though it had changed hands many times over the years, Ocean Township natives Patti Englert and her son Phil Villapiano always loved the local restaurant/bar located on Main Street in their Loch Arbour community and had long dreamed of owning it someday.So when that opportunity finally presented itself nearly three years ago, they, along with Villapiano’s business partners Andrea Pappas and Greg Bartz — now the owners of ...
Special to the Asbury Park Press
LOCH ARBOUR - Though it had changed hands many times over the years, Ocean Township natives Patti Englert and her son Phil Villapiano always loved the local restaurant/bar located on Main Street in their Loch Arbour community and had long dreamed of owning it someday.
So when that opportunity finally presented itself nearly three years ago, they, along with Villapiano’s business partners Andrea Pappas and Greg Bartz — now the owners of Deal Lake Bar + Co. in Loch Arbour — didn’t hesitate to seize the moment.
Growing up with a father who supplied steel and aluminum to contractors for the home-building process, “I enjoyed real estate, worked as a real estate agent for a period of time, and then began investing in homes and flipping them when my kids were in college,” said Englert, 67, an Interlaken resident. “Having gone to Loch Arbour Beach Club all the time as a kid, I knew the property our restaurant is on and had always loved it.”
Her son echoed that sentiment. “I’d always wanted to own that location,” said Villapiano, 40, an Oceanport resident with a background in hospitality management. “It’s always been the local bar and hangout for Ocean Township residents, especially ourselves, so it just felt like a no-brainer for a group like ours to keep that tradition going.”
Operating as everything from Harvey’s, Cats, Parkhill’s, and, most recently, McGillicuddy's Lakeside Taphouse, “we’d been keeping our eye on it,” Villapiano said of the business, which had turned over multiple times since the 1960s. “But in 2019, a colleague of mine informed me that it was up for sale and we knew that the time was right.”
“Phil and I had looked at a couple of other restaurant/bar investment opportunities, but nothing fit the bill — either the owner wasn’t committed to selling, there was a lot of red tape involved in the sale, or the property conditions weren’t ideal,” Englert said. “But with its location right on Deal Lake just blocks from the ocean, this was a local place that we knew and loved and it was really attractive to us.”
Englert purchased the property in March 2019 and Villapiano and his close friends of over 20 years, Pappas and Bartz, joined him as official owners of the new venture, which offers elevated pub food in a relaxed and casual setting.
Situated just steps away from the more city-like ambiance of Asbury Park, “we wanted to retain the local feel that we’d all loved growing up but modernize the space and provide a great sports and entertainment venue that offered a fun bar scene while maintaining a family-friendly, inclusive atmosphere,” Villapiano said of their vision.
Following extensive renovations undertaken by Englert — including installation of a brand-new kitchen, floors, ceilings, electrical circuitry, restrooms, and an HVAC system with air purification capabilities as well as industrial chic new lighting, tables and chairs, bars, windows and doors that maximize the beautiful water views, and large-screen TVs — the team officially opened Deal Lake Bar + Co. on Sept. 4, 2020, to a positive response.
'The meat is the star':Mutiny BBQ Company opens in Asbury Park
In the bright and airy 5,300-square-foot establishment that seats over 250 people inside and out, “our burgers are our best seller and are second-to-none,” said Villapiano, who added that the restaurant’s ‘Burger on the DL,’ made in smash style, is one of their signature offerings.
“Our freshly-made rotisserie chicken, offered in full or half portions or shredded, and our tuna tacos and giant pretzel are also very popular,” he said. “Guests love our lightly pan-fried appetizer of Brussels sprouts with spiced balsamic seasoning as well as our entrées like crispy salmon, flat iron steak, pork chops and fish and chips. And for dessert, we bring in locally-sourced Igloo Ice Cream sandwiches and both our cookie skillet and brownie skillet dishes are made to order with ice cream.”
On the beverage side, “we’re lucky to have Colleen Nealon, one of the area’s top mixologists, working for us, so our drinks are super cool, creative and very fresh and unique,” Villapiano said. “One of our most popular — the ‘Juicy Lucy,’ which features a blend of orange and vanilla vodka, orange juice, and coconut cream — has become a staple at Deal Lake Bar + Co., and our variety of martinis and bourbon drinks (featuring logoed ice cubes made by Ocean Township-based Clear Cut Ice Co.) are big hits too.”
He noted that the bar menu also includes an extensive list of local beers, including brews by Ocean Township-based Kane Brewing and Bradley Beach-based Bradley Brew Project. Additionally, the venue currently features live music on Thursdays and Saturdays (and every Thursday through Sunday in the warm weather months).
“Our motto at Deal Lake Bar + Co. is ‘good times at all times,’” Villapiano said. “That’s our culture and our friendly, professional and fun staff members truly embody that spirit.”
Happy holidays!:These Jersey Shore restaurants have great party spaces
Among challenges, Villapiano confirmed that staffing has been hard during the pandemic.
“We retain a really great staff of 50 employees who are incredibly dedicated and happy to be with us, but finding them can be difficult,” he said. “In addition, food prices are going up and it’s hard to sell certain items at prices that customers can get behind. For instance, the cost of basic menu items like chicken wings has gone up significantly, but people will only pay so much for an order of wings, so they’ve almost become a loss-leader for us,” he said.
Despite that, Englert and the Deal Lake Bar + Co. business team couldn’t be happier about the great reviews and tremendous support they’ve received from customers.
“Local people love and appreciate the investment we’ve made and the experience Deal Lake Bar + Co. offers and we’re thrilled to have created this destination for our community,” said Englert, who hopes it will feel like a home away from home for area residents. “Being on Deal Lake and having a great outdoor patio with a large bar has been a real draw.”
Keeping it clean:Asbury Park students learn how to keep Deal Lake from dying
“We hope to continue servicing the local scene and keeping everybody happy — everything we do is about enabling people to have a good time,” Villapiano agreed of their mission. “And based on our proximity to the most popular city on the Jersey Shore, we also want to continue offering a bit of a respite from the hustle and bustle of Asbury Park.”
As a mom, Englert couldn’t be prouder of the team’s accomplishments. “Seeing my son’s dream come true and the success that he, Andrea, and Greg are enjoying brings me the most happiness,” she said of her favorite part of her role as landlord.
“It’s hard to make it in the restaurant industry in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic” she confirmed, “and it’s exciting to see their business not only surviving but thriving.”
Location: 601 Main Street, Loch Arbour
Owners: Andrea Pappas, Greg Bartz and Phil Villapiano
Opened: September 2020
When doctors told Arnaldo Silva of Middlesex, NJ, that he had breast cancer, he was dumbstruck.“They were talking Chinese to me,” Silva, 68, tells The Post. He hadn’t even known that a man could get breast cancer.His shock was compounded a month later, when his 33-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was diagnosed with the same disease.At that point, oncologists urged father and daughter to get tested for BRCA gene mutations, which Silva had never heard of before. He and his daughter both tested positive....
When doctors told Arnaldo Silva of Middlesex, NJ, that he had breast cancer, he was dumbstruck.
“They were talking Chinese to me,” Silva, 68, tells The Post. He hadn’t even known that a man could get breast cancer.
His shock was compounded a month later, when his 33-year-old daughter, Vanessa, was diagnosed with the same disease.
At that point, oncologists urged father and daughter to get tested for BRCA gene mutations, which Silva had never heard of before. He and his daughter both tested positive.
Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes — which are responsible for repairing damage to our DNA — are inherited traits that increase a person’s chance of developing several types of cancer. There is a 50 percent chance of carriers passing a mutation on to their offspring, as Silva did.
Normally, BRCA genes “have a protective effect” against cancer, Dr. Susan Domchek, director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania, tells The Post. But mutations stop those genes from doing their job. As a result, carriers are likelier to develop cancers earlier in life than noncarriers — and more aggressive cancers, too. The Basser Center estimates that as many as 1 in 500 people are carriers of the mutation; that population rises to 1 in 40 among Ashkenazi Jews.
BRCA mutations are widely considered a women’s-health issue. It’s not untrue: Female carriers have up to a 75 percent chance of developing breast cancer and up to a 50 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.
But men can also inherit and pass down this gene mutation — as well as its life-threatening effects.
Of the two mutations, “BRCA2 is more strongly associated with risks to men,” Domchek says. Male carriers’ breast-cancer risk can rise by 10 percent and their prostate cancer risk by 25 percent. Both male and female carriers see their pancreatic-cancer and melanoma risks rise by 5 percent.
While women’s risk numbers may be more staggering, male carriers face a unique set of challenges.
The first is lack of awareness: For every 10 women who get tested for BRCA mutations, only one man does, according to a study published this June in the Journal of the American Medical Association — a stat that underscores how many men mistakenly believe themselves exempt from the threat.
That was the case for Harvey Singer. The accounts director from Rochester, NY, was devastated when his mom and sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 — but never imagined that he would one day suffer with them.
“I thought, ‘I’m not going to get breast cancer. I’m a guy,’ ” Singer, now 64, tells The Post.
Eleven years and two relapses later, his sister, Vicki, learned she was a carrier of the BRCA2 gene mutation. She urged her brother to get tested. He didn’t. Six months later, he was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51, and prostate cancer a year and a half after that. When he did finally get tested, about a year after his sister’s initial suggestion, he tested positive.
Fortunately, Singer’s in remission from both diseases today, but he still regrets “waiting to get sick” and not getting the test sooner. Today, he and his sister run HIS Breast Cancer, a foundation that educates men at risk for the disease about how to “be proactive.”
But what does being proactive mean for men with a BRCA mutation? While women can take preventative surgical measures to reduce their cancer risk — like having hysterectomies or mastectomies, as BRCA1 carrier Angelina Jolie famously did in 2013 — men’s options are much more limited. “You can’t . . . preventively remove a pancreas, and you’re not going to preventively remove a prostate,” Domchek says. She believes the real benefit of BRCA testing for men is early detection: “It would allow us to give targeted medical intervention and to cure it if it is caught at the right time.”
Steven Merlin is a living, breathing example of how valuable knowing your family history can be. “I’m a walking miracle,” says Merlin, of Interlaken, NJ. In 2012, the former med-tech worker was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Like Singer and Silva, he had a family history of cancer, which he frequently reminded his care team about. His doctors decided to have him tested for the BRCA mutation — and when he came out positive, he was able to enter a clinical trial available only to patients with BRCA. He still takes medicine from that trial today, and his multiple tumors have shrunk or completely disappeared. “I’m living a great life,” he says.
Silva hopes that in the future he and his daughter can say the same with confidence. Today, he is in remission after a double mastectomy; Vanessa has relapsed twice. He isn’t sure he’ll ever heal from the horror of passing down the gene: “I’m alive, but I’m still walking around with this guilt trip,” he says.
These days, he dedicates his time to the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, a foundation that raises awareness about the disease’s impact on men. He also shares his story, in the hopes that “no other families have to go through what I’ve gone through.”
“I hope I’m around to hear that this disease has been conquered,” Silva says. But, for now, “If I can help somebody, whatever it is — [if I can] prevent cancer in somebody else — I’ll take it. Sign me up.”