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Husbands of wives with breast cancer also need help: organization

2012/08/08 12:59:39

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) Over 60 percent of the husbands of wives who suffer from breast cancer said they were once on the brink of a breakdown, the Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliance said Wednesday to call attention to the problem.

Husbands not only need to take care of their sick wives but also deal with the financial pressure of handling high medical costs and family expenses, said Lin Wei-chieh, secretary-general of the alliance.

Citing a recent survey, Lin said 64 percent of male respondents felt immense pressure because of their wives' deteriorating health condition. Also, 31 percent said they were "heartbroken" and 42 percent expressed the feeling of "helplessness."

"Men are actually more fragile on the inside compared with women," said Chen De-ming, who recently founded a support group for husbands with wives battling breast cancer.

The group, called the Shangri-La Club, organizes activities on a regular basis to help husbands relax and connect with each other. In addition, skilled professionals are hired to provide free counseling.

Chen, whose wife was diagnosed six years ago with second stage breast cancer, explained that men often keep emotions to themselves because they are afraid of hurting their pride.

Another club member, Huang Tsung-ming, urged husbands of wives with breast cancer to open their hearts and participate in more social activities.

"It helps a lot to talk to someone who has gone through the same situation as you," he said.

(By Nancy Liu)