Psychosocial adjustment among husbands of women treated for breast cancer; mastectomy vs. breast-conserving surgery.
Omne-Pontén M., Holmberg L., Bergström R., Sjödén PO., Burns T.
Psychosocial adjustment was measured among 56 spouses of women operated for breast cancer. Of 69 eligible husbands, 56 participated. Twenty women underwent breast-conserving surgery (BCT) and 36 had a mastectomy (MT). An interview was conducted with each woman and her husband separately, 4 and 13 months after surgery. Two instruments were used; SBAS (Social Behaviour Assessment Schedule) and a scale (TB) constructed specifically for the study. The husbands of the women in the MT group were significantly more depressed after 4 months and reported complaints related to their wive's disease more often than did those in the BCT group. After 4 months, the marital relation was assessed as more positive in the MT group. A total of 48% of the husbands in the sample expressed some emotional distress during the investigation period, which is similar to levels seen among breast cancer-operated women themselves. Overall, only marginally better scores were seen for husbands married to women who had undergone breast-conserving surgery. Few researchers have studied psychosocial reactions in the breast cancer patient's family. Since patterns of social support empirically influence the rehabilitation of the cancer patient, this field of investigation is important.