The Acceptance and the Perception of Mastectomy by Males whose Spouses are Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in South Western, Nigeria: Are male spouses an obstacle?
Of several modalities of treatments available for breast cancers, mastectomy is the most dramatic and traumatic. This is because it involves the removal of an organ of a woman's sexuality and with the attendant risk of marital disharmony. This study investigated the perception and the acceptance of mastectomy among male spouses of female patients with breast cancers. We prospectively recruited 108 participants from two teaching hospitals and a private hospital in South Western, Nigeria. The study recruited spouses of female patients newly diagnosed with breast cancers that were yet to have surgery. Relevant data were obtained through interview of the participants by the authors. The mean age of participants in the study was 44.34(±5.7) years. Less than half (48.1%) of the participants accepted the procedure for their female spouses prior to counseling which rose up to 84.3% after counseling. The main reason for declining mastectomy was disfigurement. Age greater than 65 years (p=0.0274), previous knowledge of mastectomy (p=0.0107) and counseling (p<0.001) were associated with higher acceptance rate while educational status, religion and social class showed no statistical significant difference. Spouses of patients with locally advanced diseases accepted mastectomy more readily for their female partners as compared to those with early and metastatic diseases (p<0.001). About 79% of those who accepted the procedure prior to counseling would exhibit negative behavior toward their partners. Majority of male spouses of females with breast cancers would not readily accept mastectomy for their female spouses and would have negative perception of their partners after mastectomy. We thus recommend that health care workers should involve men in breast cancer related education.
Keywords: Acceptance, mastectomy, male spouse, female breast cancer and obstacle