The Experiences of Male Partners of Women with Breast Cancer: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
thesisposted on 06.11.2017, 11:28 by Sarah Rose Thomas
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in the UK, with most cases being diagnosed in females. With advances in treatment, it is being increasingly recognised as a chronic condition, which has an impact not only on the patient, but also on the patient’s family. Research suggests that partners often become the primary caregivers for these women, and yet there has been very little research exploring the impact of this diagnosis on partners. The literature review aimed to explore the information needs of male partners of women with breast cancer. Following a systematic literature search, a total of 13 papers were identified. A synthesis of the findings revealed that men prioritised information about their partner’s diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options. They preferred information from the patient or from healthcare professionals, but difficulties with communication were found to be a barrier to accessing information. Recommendations were made for healthcare professionals to aid communication with male partners. The research report explored the experiences of male partners of women with breast cancer, who had received the diagnosis within the last year. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with five men whose wives were accessing an Oncology Unit. The transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). From the analysis four super-ordinate themes emerged, with a total of 13 sub-themes. The themes were considered in relation to previous research and relevant psychological theories. The discussion led to a number of clinical implications, highlighting the vital role played by healthcare professionals, and the importance of psycho-educational interventions for men. Finally, the critical appraisal provides the researcher’s reflections on the research process and brings to light learning points to be taken forward.