Astounded and shocked is how men described feeling when learning theyhad breast cancer, a disease they didn't even know was possible forthem to get, says Edie Pituskin, a University of Alberta Faculty ofNursing graduate student.
Little is known about how men cope with breast cancer. Pituskin isconducting what she believes to be the first North American studylooking at what men experience after a breast cancerdiagnosis--important, considering the different ways men and womencope. Pituskin will be presenting her preliminary findings at theNational Conference for Men's Health in Atlanta.
Alberta's Cancer Registry identified 125 living men ranging inage from 44 to 85 who have been diagnosed with the disease--sheincluded 20 in her study.
Pituskin, who works at the Cross Cancer Institute as a clinicalresearch nurse for the Northern Alberta Breast Cancer Program found awide range of reactions to the diagnosis - from those who felt theycould tell no-one what they were facing to those who became advocates.One man made it his mission to educate people, going so far as liftinghis shirt at work, warning other males it could happen to them. Anotherman described himself as "all cut up" and unattractive to women.Several men said they would not go swimming or without a shirt becauseof the attention it might bring.
With male breast cancer on the rise, Pituskin hopes to raise awarenessabout the disease and not only encourage men to visit their doctorsmore often but to highlight the disease to health care professionalswho may recognize the illness too late. She also wants to see menparticipating in breast cancer clinical trials since currently all drugor treatment trials allow only female participants.
Pituskin's research is funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).
Materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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