Perceptions and Opinions about Male Breast Cancer and Male Breast Self-Examination: A Qualitative Study

  • Published : 2012.01.31


Objective: While the relatively common nature of female breast cancer has resulted in a high level of general awareness, male breast cancer is still comparatively unknown to the general public and to healthcare professionals. The objective of this study is to explore the perceptions and opinions about male breast cancer and male breast self-examination among male university students. Methodology: In-depth interviews were conducted among 36 male university students from the Management and Science University, Malaysia, selected by simple random sampling. The themes of the interview were: knowledge of male breast cancer and male breast self-examination, sources of knowledge and attitudes towards male BSE. The data obtained were classified into various categories and analyzed manually. Results: The majority of participants mentioned that there is a low possibility for males to get breast cancer. They also believed that the cause of breast cancer among men is due to the carcinogens from cigarettes. The majority of participants mentioned that they know about breast self-examination from the mass media and that the presence of a lump in the breast is the main symptom of breast cancer in men. The majority of participants mentioned that they encourage their family members to practice breast self-examination but considered that BSE is not important for men because they have a low probability of getting breast cancer. Conclusions: Misconceptions regarding male breast cancer and breast self-examination among men still exist among male university students. Therefore especial attention should be given to educate men about male breast cancer and male BSE.


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