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Breast cancer and body image: The roles of the male partner

1 Department of Nursing Science, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Afe Babalola University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria
3 Department of Nursing, Christland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Olaolorunpo Olorunfemi,
Department of Medical Surgical Nursing, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajim.ajim_108_21

Background: Cancer is a group of diseases with different causes, manifestations, treatment, and prognosis, characterized with an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cell. In women; cancer of the breast is the second most common cancer after cervical cancer and the second leading cancer's death following lung cancer among women in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Nigeria, it has become the most common female malignancy with a prevalence of 12.5%. However, the same treatment that offers better cure rates may also result in a serious decrease in quality of life, psychological problems, as well as provoking changes in their bodies. Societal behavior towards breast cancer patients makes a woman that is newly diagnosed with breast cancer become tearful, ashamed, and discouraged. Aims: To examine breast cancer, body image and the roles of the male partner. Methods: The data for this review paper are from published studies. Electronic databases of Medline, Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, and Google Scholar were searched using the keywords: breast cancer, body image, roles of the male partner and literature were retrieved and screened for eligibility. The date limit considered in the literature search was from 2016-2021 to capture only the variables identified in this seminar objective. The author defined the topic of interest and the goal was to address the objective of the seminar topic. Results: Four themes (issues) emerged which are: (1) The Model of Whole-Person Caring, (2) Disturbed Body Image, (3) Psycho-Social Impact of Breast Cancer and (4) Roles of the Male Partner. Conclusion: Breast cancer poses a significant financial and psychosocial burden not only on patients, but also on their spouses, families, and broader social network. Breast cancer disease usually changes spousal roles as the women's husbands take over their responsibilities. The disease influenced both partners and made stress a common factor shared by them. Husband plays a vital role in the lives of breast cancer patients through managing the finance, decision-making, providing emotional support, and remaining involved throughout the disease. Therefore, involving the husband in planned psycho-social interventions produces better results than merely patient-focused strategies. Male partners have a great role to play and should be encouraged and allow partaking in the treatment process of their spouses as this will positively influence their recovery.

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