Male Breast Cancer

It Happens to Guys, Too.

Most people think of breast cancer as a woman’s disease. Male breast cancer is comparatively rare, but it does happen, and the mindset that it doesn’t happen causes men who develop symptoms to ignore them or delay seeing a doctor. The outcome is that male breast cancer is too often diagnosed after it has already spread. Male breast cancer, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, causes about 450 deaths a year in the United States. The average time between the onset of the first symptom and the diagnosis is a whopping 19 months, according to Breastcancer.org.

Both men and women have breast tissue, during puberty, women’s hormones simply cause them to develop more of it. Hence men, like women, have milk ducts in their breast tissue, and that is where almost all cancer begins. This kind of cancer can spread to the nipple, causing the nipple skin to become scaly and crusty. Cancer that has spread to the nipple is called Paget’s disease and is very rare in men.

Male Breast Cancer Awareness

A more common male breast disorder that is sometimes mistaken for signs of breast cancer in men is gynecomastia, which is not a form of cancer. However, it can be confused with male breast cancer because it often starts with a small, tender lump and progresses to the enlargement of the glandular tissue in one or both breasts. The breast may also be tender or painful. However, with Gynecomastia, both breasts are usually enlarged. Gynecomastia is most common in infants, adolescent boys, and older men. Also, some medications, like steroids, can cause the disorder. Men should seek medical attention for any kind of lump in the breast, however, to rule out the possibility of male breast cancer.

Males Breast Cancer Treatment

Typical treatment for male breast cancer is very similar to the treatment for breast cancer in women: mastectomy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy, depending on the type and stage of the cancer. The key to recovery from and long-term survival following any cancer is catching the cancer early, before it spreads to other parts of the body. That means all men, and the women in their lives, should be aware that male breast cancer exists, and they should understand and identify its symptoms.

Types of Male Breast Cancer

  • Infiltrating/Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, which is the most common type of male breast cancer. It is a cancer that has spread beyond the ducts in the breast.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: cancer in the milk ducts that has not spread beyond the ducts.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer: cancer that involves no lumps and causes the breast to look red and swollen and feel warm to the touch.
  • Paget’s disease of the nipple: a tumor that has spread beyond the milk ducts onto the surface of the nipple.

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms

  • A lump that isn’t painful. Most men with male breast cancer have lumps that are palpable.
  • Thickening of the breast tissue.
  • Any changes in the skin covering the breast, like dimpling, puckering, redness, scaling.
  • Any changes to the nipple, like redness, scaling, or inversion (turning inward).
  • Discharge from the nipple.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm.

Male Breast Cancer Facts

Who Is Most at Risk for Male Breast Cancer?

  • Older men between ages 60 and 70.
  • Men who are exposed to estrogen, which is present in the drugs used for sex-change procedures and also in prostate-cancer hormone therapy. It is also present in the hormones used to fatten up beef cattle.
  • Men with a family history (several female family members who have had breast cancer).
  • Men who have received radiation treatment to their chests.
  • Men who have had testicle disease or surgery.
  • Inherited gene mutations.
  • Anything that reduces male hormones and / or increases female hormones:
    • Klinefelter’s syndrome.
    • Liver disease.
Our sources of male breast cancer information and sources for your further knowledge of male breast cancer facts:





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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment