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Man's Guide to Breast Cancer

Author John W. Anderson shares insights on how men can stand by women with breast cancer.

Many women with breast cancer say that their partners had a hard time with their appearance after treatment, especially at first. Did that happen for you? continued...

For me, I was so happy to see Sharon after her surgery, to know that her tumors had been removed, that she looked more beautiful to me than ever before. I still feel that today.

When Sharon looked at her mastectomy for the first time, she said that she felt emotionally, as well as physically, numb. She didn’t know how to feel at all. But after she showed me what had been done to her, and I told her how beautiful she was to me, and how much I loved her, it was then that her feelings came rushing back to her. Our marriage had taken a major step forward when this happened. Sharon said it was right then that she knew that our marriage was not only going to be fine, but better because of this experience.”

What has changed between the time that your mom was first diagnosed and now in terms of treatment and awareness of breast cancer?

Back then breast cancer was referred to as ‘the big C’ in hushed tones. It was the elephant in the room. Now when someone gets diagnosed, women are open and there is a much bigger network of support for family and friends. That is a huge difference. There have also been advances in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. Today there is hope even with a recurrence. A breast cancer recurrence isn’t a death sentence. You just have to fire back up.

Given your strong family history of breast cancer, any thoughts on gene testing for breast cancer genes?

It is something I should do. My sister tested positive. My dad tested positive. I think about it from my sons' perspective, too. Their mom, aunt, and grandmother had breast cancer and their grandfather has the gene.

Reviewed on September 28, 2010

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