Date of Award

Spring 2007

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

David J Hebert


Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women in the United States. Breast cancer does not only affect the individual diagnosed, but also her family. Research has shown that spouses are the most commonly reported support people for married women with the diagnosis. The impact of the diagnosis of breast cancer and treatment for women is well studied and documented, but the psychological effects on spouses have received less attention. This phenomenological study was designed to enhance understanding of the psychological experiences of a male whose wife is diagnosed with breast cancer Participants in this study were six Caucasian males who are all married to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have received treatment, and are currently now in remission. Semi-structured interviews served as a means of data collection. Common themes of sacrifice, vulnerability, combat, hope, and hero emerged in the data analysis. The experiences of the men in this study were ultimately likened to the experiences of the ancient Olympic Festival. The findings in this study have clearly contributed to the breast cancer literature and to healthcare professionals regarding holistic care of families who encounter a breast cancer diagnosis.