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Eur J Cancer. 2006 Feb;42(3):334-41. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

The experiences of men with breast cancer in the United Kingdom.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.


To investigate the experiences of men with breast cancer across the United Kingdom, a multi-phase study using: (a) focus groups (n = 4) with men and women with breast cancer and with healthcare professionals; (b) questionnaires to men with breast cancer (n = 161); (c) follow-up interviews with these men (n = 30) and (d) reconvening the focus groups (n = 2) for the men and women with breast cancer. The majority of men (84%, n = 135) reported their symptoms early, but were shocked to receive a breast cancer diagnosis. Disclosure of the diagnosis was commonly made to partners (80%, n = 129) and other close family and was influenced by perceptions of embarrassment, stigma and altered body image. Very little information was available to participants; that which was available was often inappropriate as it was intended for women. Over half the sample wanted much more information (56%, n = 90). This study also demonstrated low utilisation of formal support services and initiatives are needed to improve the information and support provided to men with breast cancer after diagnosis and treatment. Increasing the profile of breast cancer in men generally amongst healthcare professionals and the public is also needed.

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