Supporting men with breast cancer

Ella Rhodes reports on a virtual meet-up.

A psychologist has launched a monthly virtual meet-up for men affected by breast cancer to share their experiences. Dr Kerry Quincey (De Montfort University, pictured) set up the initiative after her own research found that men with breast cancer did not feel they had the same level of support as women with the condition. 

She was inspired by US-based charities AnCAN and the Male Breast Cancer Coalition, which together have set up a similar forum in America. The UK breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk, which launched a ‘Men Get Breast Cancer Too!’ campaign in 2017 is also involved, and the meet-up has been supported by NHS clinicians at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital Breast Care Centre. 

Quincey said the virtual meet-ups, set to be held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 8pm, would be a safe space hosted by men for men. ‘My findings demonstrate a need for improved care and resources for men with breast cancer – including communicative means, and especially between peers. The meet-ups, which will be free for attendees, will be peer-led and hosted by male breast cancer "thrivers". All men with a history of breast cancer diagnosis, based in UK-convenient time-zones are welcome to join the meetings.’ 

Quincey works with many breast cancer charities through her research and early in 2020 was named the first collaborative psychologist for Against Breast Cancer, a national non-profit organisation that funds research into secondary spread breast cancer, focusing on prevention, detection and therapies. In August she was named a member of AnCAN’s advisory board and is a panel member of the De Montfort University Medical Forum, a national research group set up by fellow lecturer Associate Professor Gillian Proctor, which aims to improve support for people affected by breast cancer. 

There are around 400 new cases of breast cancer in UK men presenting each year. The disease is responsible for proportionally more male deaths annually than some other men’s cancers, including penile and testicular forms. Quincy said it was crucial to raise awareness of male breast cancer and to give those men affected a voice. ‘Through our ongoing research and the incredible work being done through the Medical Forum, DMU is proud to be at the forefront of making a change.’

Quincey has worked alongside breast cancer thriver Doug Harper, who participated in her research study, to develop the concept and get a closer insight into what patients want and need. To join the conversation or for more information, contact Harper by emailing [email protected].  

The next meeting is on November 26 at 8pm UK time, and in January the meeting will be on the 28th

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