"My Husband Has Breast Cancer": A Qualitative Study of Experiences of Female Partners of Men With Breast Cancer

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BACKGROUND: Relatives of patients with cancer are at risk of experiencing changes to their everyday life, health, and quality of life. Partners of men with breast cancer may face certain challenges regarding their need for information, care, and support.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose was to explore the experiences of the partners of men with breast cancer in relation to care, information, and emotional support and to explore how men with breast cancer impact the partners' everyday life.

METHOD: This was a qualitative study based on individual interviews applying a phenomenological-hermeneutical analysis.

RESULTS: Four themes were identified in the 12 female partners' narratives: a wall of ignorance, being seen is not a matter of course, emotional stress affects everyday life, and side effects strain the couples' relationship.

CONCLUSION: The female partners' need for information on male breast cancer (MBC) is not sufficiently met because of lack of and poorly communicated information on the topic. The female partner assumes the role of advocate, actively seeking information when in contact with health professionals. Daily life is negatively affected by a lack of acknowledgement of the impact of MBC on their lives and needs by their social networks or health professionals.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Female partners have individual care, information, and emotional support needs that may differ from those of their male partner with breast cancer. Health professionals must improve communication with patients and relatives as there are lack of knowledge available regarding MBC and lack of evidence-based guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Nursing
ISSN0162-220X
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

ID: 241419689