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Mood disorders likely in men having partner with breast cancer, study

A new surprising research has proposed that men, having wives suffering from breast cancer have a great probability of landing into depression or developing mood-related disorders.

According to a team of investigators from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, such men could need medical care to check their mental health.

The study established that men were 39 per cent more likely to develop mental problems, while seeing their partner fight against breast cancer.

Suggesting that the partner of the patient also needs support, a spokesman from the Macmillan Cancer Support organization said, “Men often feel they need to be the strong one and often keep quiet about how they are really feeling.”

“This can make dealing with their partner's cancer even tougher, which is why we urge them to get support for themselves too,” the spokesperson said.

More than a million men evaluated
This is the largest study that examines the effect on the mental health of husbands, who have wives diagnosed with the cancer.

Past records of more than one million men in the age group of 30 or above, having no history of any mental problems, were evaluated by the researchers. These men were living with their better halves for more than five years.

Breast cancer was diagnosed in partners of 20,358 men, who were part of the study, over the next 13 years. 180 of these men were hospitalized with serious mood problems, which was more in number than men having healthy partners.

The study also found those men, who had wives dying from the cancer, had 3.6 times more chances of needing treatment.

Professor Christoffer Johansen, lead-author of the study said, "A diagnosis of breast cancer not only affects the life of the patient but may also seriously affect the partner.”

"We suggest that some sort of screening of the partners of cancer patients in general and those of breast cancer patients in particular for depressive symptoms might be important for preventing this devastating consequence of cancer,” Johansen said.

The findings of the study have been published in the September edition of the journal ‘Cancer’.

Breast cancer prevention

As October is celebrated as breast cancer awareness month across the world, experts have come out with some handy tips that help in preventing the cancer that is a major cause of worry for women in present times.

Some of the recommendations include quitting smoking in women, limiting use of contraceptive pills, practicing breastfeeding, having babies before the age of 35, limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, eating food that contains lesser fats and maintaining a healthy weight.