Men and breast cancer: what do we know and what do we need to do differently?
Rare, under-researched and underfunded, breast cancer in men is frequently overlooked within health and care systems. Increased prevalence and sustained professional and public interest in breast cancer in women has led to pervasive feminisation of the disease and related clinical practices, posing important ramifications for male patient-survivors. Our research adopts a critical health psychology perspective and is two-fold: (1) an international qualitative synthesis of 8 existing studies looking at men's experiences of breast cancer; (2) an on-going study which involves collecting both verbal and photographic data from 31 British men who have experienced breast cancer. Integrating and triangulating the findings from the two study phases, we reveal how the marginalisation of men across the illness trajectory impinges on the male breast cancer experience and men's adjustment to the illness. Findings from the qualitative synthesis demonstrate how current approaches to breast cancer care and advocacy serve to isolate men who develop the disease, potentially alienating and emasculating them. Patient management practices and information resources intended for breast cancer patients unequivocally marginalise men. Preliminary findings from our work-in-progress confirm these earlier findings and further illuminate the difficulties encountered by male patient-survivors on the periphery of optimal psychosocial care and support. We expand on ideas surrounding stigma, masculinities and marginalisation relating to breast cancer in men, and conclude with recommendations for advocacy and intervention for improved future care and breast cancer practices.
Citation : Quincey, K., Shokuhi, S., Williamson, I., Appleton, D., and Wildbur, D.J. (2016) Men and breast cancer: what do we know and what do we need to do differently? Poster presented at the Association of Breast Surgery Conference, Manchester, UK.
Research Group : Health Psychology
Research Institute : Institute for Psychological Science