About 2360 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year, and about 430 of them will die from the disease. This is because men are less likely to recognize symptoms, and are less likely to report breast changes to their physician. Although breast cancer is not as common in men as in women, for every man, there is a 1-in-1000 lifetime risk of getting this diagnosis.
1. A lump, hard knot, or thickening in breast, or underarm area. Check this out while you’re showering.
2. Changes in the size or shape of breast, not related to weight gain. Men, as well as women, should be aware of this.
3. Dimpling, puckering, or redness of skin on the breast. Men might shrug this off as just a rash, or allergic reaction.
4. An itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple. Again, something men probably wouldn’t associate with cancer.
5. Inverted (pulling in) nipple, or on other parts of breast. This isn’t normal in men or women, and should be reported to your physician.
6. Although rare in men, nipple discharge.Especially in men, this should be a red flag.
Except for #4 and #6, the risks are the same for both sexes.
1. Age is the most common risk factor, with the average age of men being 65-67.
2. Inheriting the BRCA2 (BReast CAncer 2) gene mutation. It can be passed on by either parent, and a father can pass it on to either his son or daughter.
3. Having a history of breast cancer in the family.
4. Having the condition Gynecomastia, which is a condition of the breast tissue becoming enlarged due to a hormonal imbalance.
5. Being overweight; in particular, obesity.
6. Having been diagnosed with Klinefelters syndrome. This occurs when a boy is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome.
Other Risk Factors Under Study
1. Heavy alcohol use
2. Treatment of prostate cancer with certain hormone drugs
3. Larger than usual amount of estrogen
5. Exposure to large amounts of radiation during childhood
None of the above has been scientifically proven as yet; it is still being studied, but you should take these possibilities seriously if any of it pertains to you.
Treatment for male breast cancer is chemotherapy, surgery, and drug therapy, depending on type and stage.This is the exact same treatment that women receive.
If a man has a family history of breast cancer, he definitely should be checked for the BRCA2 mutation. If this is positive, it is suggested he get a mammogram around age 40, and have breast exams by his physician every 6-12 months. Cancer is cancer. Do not be embarrassed to discuss this with your health care provider if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Man-up, and take care of yourself.