Male breast cancer patients need better information and support services

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday February 17, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday February 16, 2006.

National initiatives are needed to provide support and information for male breast cancer patients, state the authors of a Seminar in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Male breast cancer is a rare, but neglected disease. In their Seminar Ian Fentiman (Guy's Hospital, London, UK) and colleagues state that current support systems for men with breast cancer are rudimentary. In women, a diagnosis of breast cancer can result in depression and anxiety, however, no structured psychosocial studies have been reported in male breast cancer. In-depth interviews of male patients indicate several major areas of concern: delay in diagnosis, shock, stigma, casual factors related to body image, and lack of information and emotional support.

Professor Ian Fentiman states: "There is evident need for national protocols for both information and support for men diagnosed with breast cancer."

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See also an accompanying Personal Account in this week's issue.

Contact: Communications department, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS FoundationTrust T) 207-188-5577 communications@gstt.nhs.uk

Notes to editors
The annual prevalence of male breast cancer in Europe is 1 in 100 000.

Risk factors for male breast cancer include occupational exposure to high temperature environments, such as blast furnaces and petrol and exhaust fumes. Genetic abnormalities, obesity, excess alcohol and radiation also increase the risk of the disease.

The standard treatment for localised disease is surgery (mastectomy) and most studies point to a benefit of additional hormonal therapy and chemotherapy.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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