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Men's experiences of coping with their wives' breast cancer involved focusing on the cancer and treatment and focusing on family to keep life going

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QUESTION: What were the experiences of men as individuals, partners, and fathers when their wives had chemotherapy for breast cancer?


Qualitative naturalistic inquiry.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


10 English speaking, white male partners (age range 39–58 y) of women who had chemotherapy for breast cancer in the previous 2 years and had ≥1 child living at home were identified through purposive sampling.


Men participated in individual, semi-structured interviews of 1–2 hours, which were conducted by male nurses. Interviews focused on men's perceptions of their experience and their family's experience of coping with breast cancer. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed, and analysed using the constant comparative method.

Main findings

Men's coping was characterised by 2 major themes: focusing on their wives' illness and care and focusing on the family to keep life going. 9 subthemes were identified, each of which predominantly reflected one of the 2 major themes, although most reflected both themes …

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  • Source of funding: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Professor B A Hilton, University of British Columbia, School of Nursing T201-2211, Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 2B5, Canada. Fax +1 604 822 7466.