Oral Presentation Joint 2016 COSA and ANZBCTG Annual Scientific Meeting

Psychological Issues in Male Breast Cancer (#62)

Jemma Gilchrist 1
  1. Mind My Health, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW, Australia

When society raises awareness or funding for breast cancer the symbols, colours and comments imply that breast cancer is an exclusively female disease.  Whilst the vast majority are women, up to 1% are men.  As breast cancer is rare in males, most men are not aware that they can develop breast cancer or how risk factors relate to them [1]. As a consequence, their pathway to diagnosis and treatment options differ from those of women. Men tend to present at a later stage of disease [2] and to undergo mastectomy [3]. Although society acknowledges that mastectomy is a confronting issue for a woman, mastectomy in men is also associated with significant body-image disturbance [4,5] which may not be openly addressed. Just as for females, endocrine treatment is an important part of care and there are associated mood and sexual changes. Most of the literature in the psychological adjustment to breast cancer has focused on women. While some aspects of emotional adjustment are shared, particular issues such as embarrassment, shame and masculinity [6] arise with the stigma of having a rare cancer, typically associated with a female body part and the hormone oestrogen.  Psychological care is an essential part of the management of a woman with breast cancer and men are no less likely to benefit from targeted information and support. This talk will address the key emotional issues that men with breast cancer face and their specific information and service delivery [7] needs.

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