We want to share information about Male Breast Cancer. Not many talk about this disease happening to men. Please read the information below from The National Breast Cancer Foundation and Breastcancer.org.
All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. Even so, male breast cancer is very rare. Less than one percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men, and only one in a thousand men will ever be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.
Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma
Of the men who develop breast cancer, the vast majority of those cases are Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), which means cells in or around the ducts begin to invade surrounding tissue. Very rarely, a man might be diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, or Paget disease, of the nipple.
Signs & Symptoms
Male breast cancer can exhibit the same symptoms as breast cancer in women, including a lump. Anyone who notices anything unusual about their breasts, whether male or female, should contact their physician immediately. Survival rates and treatment for men with breast cancer are very similar to those for women. Early detection of breast cancer increases treatment options and often reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor, Janelle Hail.
THE RISK FACTORS FOR MALE BREAST CANCER
It’s important to understand the risk factors for male breast cancer — particularly because men are not routinely screened for the disease and don’t think about the possibility that they’ll get it. As a result, breast cancer tends to be more advanced in men than in women when it is first detected.
A number of factors can increase a man’s risk of getting breast cancer:
• Growing older: This is the biggest factor. Just as is the case for women, risk increases as age increases. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is about 68.
• High estrogen levels: Breast cell growth — both normal and abnormal — is stimulated by the presence of estrogen. Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of:
* taking hormonal medicines
* being overweight, which increases the production of estrogen
* having been exposed to estrogens in the environment (such as estrogen and other hormones fed to fatten up beef cattle, or the breakdown products of the pesticide DDT, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body)
* being heavy users of alcohol, which can limit the liver’s ability to regulate blood estrogen levels
* having liver disease, which usually leads to lower levels of androgens (male hormones) and higher levels of estrogen (female hormones). This increases the risk of developing gynecomastia (breast tissue growth that is non-cancerous) as well as breast cancer.
• Klinefelter syndrome: Men with Klinefelter syndrome have lower levels of androgens (male hormones) and higher levels of estrogen (female hormones). Therefore, they have a higher risk of developing gynecomastia (breast tissue growth that is non-cancerous) and breast cancer. Klinefelter syndrome is a condition present at birth that affects about 1 in 1,000 men. Normally men have a single X and single Y chromosome. Men with Klinefelter syndrome have more than one X chromosome (sometimes as many as four). Symptoms of Klinefelter syndrome include having longer legs, a higher voice, and a thinner beard than average men; having smaller than normal testicles; and being infertile (unable to produce sperm).
• A strong family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations: Family history can increase the risk of breast cancer in men — particularly if other men in the family have had breast cancer. The risk is also higher if there is a proven breast cancer gene abnormality in the family. Men who inherit abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (BR stands for BReast, and CA stands for CAncer) have an increased risk of male breast cancer. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1% with the BRCA1 gene mutation and 6% with the BRCA2 gene mutation. Because of this strong association between male breast cancer and an abnormal BRCA2 gene, first-degree relatives (siblings, parents, and children) of a man diagnosed with breast cancer may want to ask their doctors about genetic testing for abnormal breast cancer genes. Still, the majority of male breast cancers happen in men who have no family history of breast cancer and no inherited gene abnormality.
• Radiation exposure: If a man has been treated with radiation to the chest, such as for lymphoma, he has an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Breastcancer.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing information and community to those touched by this disease. Learn more about our commitment to providing complete, accurate, and private breast cancer information.