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AJN Original Research: Men's Awareness and Knowledge of Male Breast Cancer


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

original research: men's awareness and knowledge of male breast cancer

thomas, eileen

ajn, american journal of nursing. 110(10):32-37,39-40, october 2010.

a qualitative study provides much-needed insight into men's awareness and knowledge of male breast cancer.


objective: this article reports on the findings of a qualitative study that explored the awareness and knowledge of male breast cancer among english-speaking men. the primary goal was to elicit information to guide both clinical practice and the development of gender-specific educational interventions.

methods: interviews with 28 adult men, all of whom had no history of breast cancer themselves but had at least one maternal blood relative with the disease, were conducted and analyzed, using qualitative methods, to describe participants' awareness of male breast cancer, their knowledge of the disease, and how they thought awareness of male breast cancer could be increased in health care providers and the lay public.

results: nearly 80% of participants weren't aware that men can get breast cancer; and although all were at higher risk given their positive family history, all reported that their providers had never discussed the disease with them. a majority couldn't identify any symptoms other than a lump in the breast. about 43% voiced concerns that a diagnosis of breast cancer would cause them to question their masculinity. participants also suggested ways that men, as well as providers and the lay public, could be better made aware of and educated about their risk for this disease.

conclusion: this study provides much-needed insight into men's awareness and knowledge of male breast cancer. while further research with larger samples is needed, these findings offer a starting point for the development of evidence-based, gender-specific, health promotion and disease prevention interventions for men.

Baloney Amputation, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Acute Care.

What can we expect? The pink ribbon is plastered in all types of advertising. Donations by well-intentioned companies use language indicating that their donations will help "women" with breast cancer (though, as an example, I believe Avon is one company that states "women and men"). Maybe the pink ribbon could use an update, with a smidge of blue in there somewhere, to reflect that this is not just a woman's disease. However, when the pink ribbon is on a product, it apparently flies out the door, and no one's going to mess with that formula soon, I reckon. What a marketing tool.

A pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness? It's hardly awareness when so many members of one gender think they can't get the disease!