According to Kate Hunt who works for the public health sciences unit for the Medical Research Council in Glasgow, male breast cancer sufferers are finding that the health service is often quite thoughtless when it comes to the treatment of men.
Hunt was carrying out research for the health talk online website, a site which offers real stories from real patients in a bid to provide a support network for others in a similar situation.
Hunt spoke to 33 men who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, who reported issues such as appointment cards being addressed to a ‘Mrs’ instead of a ‘Mr’, or pharmacists informing males who have come to collect their prescriptions that the drug is intended for females only.
One patient, Bernard Greenan, went to visit his doctor after his nipple started to bleed. In the information pack he was sent detailing his biopsy operation, he was advised to take a soft bra along with him to minimise discomfort after the operation.
Greenan’s experience was not dissimilar to that of other male sufferers, who also reported for the website that they felt isolated by services which were very female focussed.
Some researchers have suggested that the pink ribbon, which we know as the symbol for breast cancer awareness month, now include a blue accent of some form in order to remind individuals that men are also affected by breast cancer.
Estee Lauder, who have been supporting breast cancer awareness month for some years now, have introduced one blue gem into their breast cancer pin, to represent the 1% of male suffers. Perhaps the NHS should take a leaf from their book.
If you are male or female and struggling to come to terms with your cancer diagnosis, you may benefit from some extra support. For information about how counselling could help individuals to cope with some of the emotional aspects of cancer, please read our cancer fact-sheet to find out more.
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