Large information gap regarding male breast cancer
There seems to be a shortage in terms of information regarding male breast cancer, particularly with regard to side effects and treatment options, a new study has found.
Researchers conducted focus group discussions with 12 male breast cancer patients (mean age, 66 years) and two partners; a paper-based questionnaire was also administered to 77 patients (mean age, 65 years). In addition, a parallel online questionnaire was administered to 139 health professionals involved in care for male breast cancer patients.
Patient questionnaire data revealed that 65 percent (n=50) of the participants missed information about the acute effects of treatment, especially regarding sexuality. This included the effects on sex (23 percent), sexual activity with or without intercourse (22 percent), and sexual enjoyment (17 percent).
Informational gaps in psychosocial problems, such as worries about future health status, were also documented.
There were likewise shortcomings in information about long-term consequences, as reported by 56 percent (n=43) of the patients. This was similarly dominated by the effect of the malignancy on sexuality, though information about long-term treatment side effects was also wanting.
In response, 36 percent (n=28) of the participants noted that they wanted to receive more male-specific information regarding symptoms and diagnosis, follow-up, side-effects, prognosis, psychosocial impacts, peer group support, supportive therapy, implications for partners and families, and research.
In terms of health professionals, majority (79 percent; n=110) had reported searching for information about male breast cancer, particularly about antihormonal therapy, genetic testing, research and psychosocial issues.