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Book for blokes eases breast cancer journey

Monday October 21, 2013

Book for blokes eases breast cancer journey

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A new book for men whose partners have breast cancer is released today by the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

She’s Got Breast Cancer, compiled by journalist Peter Calder, is available free from the NZBCF. It features no-holds-barred interviews with 18 Kiwi blokes caught up in what’s commonly known as the “breast cancer journey” when the woman they loved was diagnosed with the disease.

The men come from all over New Zealand – from Whangarei to Christchurch – and from all walks of life, including farmer, bar owner, ad agency director, mushroom grower, sheetmetal worker, investment adviser. The common factor is that their partners (or, in one case, mother) were diagnosed with breast cancer, but from that point, each man’s experience differed.

In She’s Got Breast Cancer, the men relate how breast cancer affected their relationships, work, sex life, friendships, self-image. They are honest to the point of bluntness, with humour and sadness underpinning many of the stories. Since the book was completed, two of the men’s partners have died, and one has been diagnosed with secondary cancer.

“The men who read this book should know it holds no easy answers,” said Peter Calder. “None of these men would say they handled their partner’s breast cancer perfectly – and in fact, there’s no right way to deal with it. I hope readers will find some stories they relate to – they should take what they can from those and ignore the rest.”

Calder came up with the idea of collecting the stories for She’s Got Breast Cancer after his wife, Alison Jones, was diagnosed in 2008. He was keenly aware of how isolated and powerless partners of women with breast cancer can become, particularly if they are not used to talking to other men about how they are feeling. Having sourced private funding for the venture, he provided the manuscript to the foundation for nothing and will not receive any royalties. 

She’s Got Breast Cancer is an act of true generosity by Peter and by all the men who shared their stories,” said NZ Breast Cancer Foundation chief executive Van Henderson. “It’s very satisfying to be able to offer it free to anyone who needs it – and going by the number of calls we’ve received from people who’ve heard about this project, there is a very real need.”

The book is available in paperback and ebook formats. Order from www.nzbcf.org.nz/ForMen, or call 0800 BC NURSE (0800 22 68773).


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