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Male Breast Cancer Patient and Surgeon Experience: The Male WhySurg Study



Little is known about the experience of the male breast cancer patient. Mastectomy is often offered despite evidence that breast-conserving surgery (BCS) provides similar outcomes.


Two concurrent online surveys were distributed from August to October 2020 via social media to male breast cancer (MBC) patients and by email to American Society of Breast Surgeon members. The MBC patients were asked their opinions about their surgery, and the surgeons were asked to provide surgical recommendations for MBC patients.


The survey involved 63 MBC patients with a mean age of 62 years (range, 31-79 years). Five MBC patients (7.9 %) stated that their surgeon recommended BCS, but 54 (85.7 %) of the patients underwent unilateral, and 8 (12.7 %) underwent bilateral mastectomy. Most of the patients (n = 60, 96.8 %) had no reconstruction. One third of the patients (n = 21, 33.3 %) felt somewhat or very uncomfortable with their appearance after surgery. The response rate was 16.5 % for the surgeons. Of the 438 surgeons who answered the survey, 298 (73.3 %) were female, 215 (51.7 %) were fellowship-trained, and 244 (58.9 %) had been practicing for 16 years or longer. More than half of surgeons (n = 259, 59.1 %) routinely offered BCS to eligible men, and 180 (41.3 %) stated they had performed BCS on a man with breast cancer. Whereas 89 (20.8 %) of the surgeons stated that they routinely offer reconstruction to MBC patients, 87 (20.3 %) said they do not offer reconstruction, 96 (22.4 %) said they offer it only if the patient requests it, and 157 (36.6 %) said they never consider it as an option.


The study found discordance between MBC patients' satisfaction with their surgery and surgeon recommendations and experience. These data present an opportunity to optimize the MBC patient experience.

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