Breast Cancer in men

Support from family, friends and colleagues

Many people appreciate having support when they first find out they have cancer, whilst they are having treatment or when they are beginning to recover. Men talked about several sources of support that had helped them through difficult times.

The most important source of support for most men was their family. Almost all of them received a lot of family support, and some also had the support of friends, neighbours, colleagues and employers. Most men said that their wife had been their main source of support. They had helped to support them both practically and emotionally, including' taking time off work to look after them; listening to them when they were feeling down; being positive, strong and encouraging; sometimes bearing the brunt of their feelings of anger or frustration; accompanying them to hospital appointments; and helping them find information on breast cancer.
Some men also talked about the support they received from their children and grandchildren. For a few men, it was their adult children who accompanied them to hospital appointments or looked after them after their surgery and during treatment. Some men also said that just talking to their children and knowing that they were there for them was a great source of comfort to them. A couple of men also talked about being moved by their grandchildren’s efforts to support and comfort them.
Just a few men, however, did not have good family support. For example, one man had a difficult relationship with his mother and felt totally unsupported by her during his treatment. Another man, who only occasionally saw his sisters and brothers, said that they ignored him at a family funeral after his diagnosis.
Most men also said that friends and colleagues had been supportive. Some appreciated it when their friends acted ‘normally’ with them, or made them laugh, or showed that they were ‘there for them’ in some other way.
Some colleagues and employers had done things to make returning to work easier.
However, a couple of men had very little support from family and friends and had got through the experience on their own.


Last reviewed June 2017.
 

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