Breast Cancer and the Lives of Husbands, Boyfriends, Fathers and Sons….

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Breast Cancer and the lives of Husbands, Boyfriends, Fathers and Sons….

A breast cancer diagnosis creates fear, anxiety, and turmoil in a woman’s life. Understandably so. Less understood is how a breast cancer diagnosis impacts the lives of the men that surround her.

I am sharing (with permission) a handwritten note I received from the husband of a patient I treated. It is not often in the internet/email age that one is sent a handwritten note, especially from a man:

On behalf of my wife & I.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge Dr John Kehoe surgical oncologist & Dr Norman “Day” Bakshandeh plastic surgeon, for taking such great care of her today during her surgery, To all the staff at both offices you have gone above and beyond to get her through this every step of the way. Most of all for dealing with a nervous husband, who asks incessant questions, who was more of a wreck then she was!!

The role of men in the lives of the women with breast cancer that I treat is largely neglected. But it is generally the men in the lives of my patients that I speak with first after surgery. Husbands, Boyfriends. Fathers. Sons. They express concern and seek reassurance.


While men show emotion differently than women, what is obvious from this note is how cancer and surgery ripple through a woman’s support system. The men are generally there quietly emoting and supporting and feeling for their loved ones in ways we may not always imagine or suspect.


In a practice and medical field awash in estrogen, the heartfelt male sentiments in this note were certainly welcomed. I hope you feel the same way…and give this gentleman the thumbs up…and file this post in the folder “Sometimes Men Can Be Really Good.”