Exploring men's breast cancer experiences through an ethno-photographic lens: A multi-method phenomenological study.
Background: Breast cancer in men is rare, under-researched and underfunded within both clinical and third-sector healthcare systems. Despite higher annual mortality than testicular cancer in the UK, breast cancer is frequently overlooked as a threat to men's health, often misperceived as a women-only illness. High-profile activism and awareness-raising around breast cancer in women has led to pervasive feminisation of the disease with ramifications for male patient-survivors. Method: 31 British men with a history of breast cancer participated in a multi-method qualitative study combining verbal and visual data collection. Participants were asked to illustrate their breast cancer experience using a series of self-authored/self-selected photographs, and to discuss these images as part of extended semi-structured interviews. All data collected were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Findings: Three themes are discussed, illustrated using extracts and photographs taken from the men's accounts: ‘Reclaiming Masculinity’, looks at how the men assert their masculinities and relate various aspects of their accounts of breast cancer to hegemonic male practices. Theme two, ‘The Self-Marginalising Man’, considers how the men themselves contribute to the marginalisation of breast cancer in men. Finally, ‘A Better Man’, reveals how the men position their breast cancer experience as life-enhancing and themselves as improved individuals. Discussion: We discuss and expand on the positioning of breast cancer in men as a marginalised malignancy, and demonstrate how being on the periphery of optimal psychosocial support poses challenges for men affected. We conclude by offering some suggestions for more inclusive breast cancer advocacy, and care practices.
Citation : Quincey, K., Williamson, I., and Wildbur, D.J. (2016) Exploring men's breast cancer experiences through an ethno-photographic lens: A multi-method phenomenological study. European Health Psychology Society. Behaviour change: Making an impact on health and health services, 23-27 August, Aberdeen, Scotland
Research Group : Health Psychology
Research Institute : Institute for Psychological Science