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Breast Cancer In Men Symptoms

Are There Differences Between Breast Cancer In Men And Women

How to Check for the Signs of Male Breast Cancer | Lorraine

There are several differences between male and female breast cancers. One of the biggest differences is the stage of the breast cancer diagnosis. Male breast cancer tends to be found at later, more advanced stages. Part of this is due to limited awareness about male breast cancer. Men likely dont check their breast tissue for possible issues as often as women.

Male breast cancer also tends to present with more skin or nipple findings. These may be skin changes, skin dimpling, or nipple discharge. Much of this is due to the smaller amount of male breast tissue. And the breast tissue they do have is closer to the nipple.

Lump Or Mass In The Breast

A painless mass in the breast could indicate breast cancer. While it is possible for breast cancer to hurt, most people notice a mass that causes no pain. Additionally, breast cancer lumps can come in many sizes and shapes, but they are usually hard and do not move around in the breast tissue.

A mass is more likely to be cancer if a person finds it in one breast. However, it is possible to develop the disease in both breasts. Any breast lump warrants a doctors visit.

Family Members With Breast Cancer Or A Breast Cancer Gene

Men who have female relatives with breast cancer have an increased risk of breast cancer, especially if the women are close relatives . The risk also increases if the women were diagnosed at a young age . Men, as well as women, can inherit faulty genes that increase the risk of breast cancer.

Around 2 in 100 breast cancers diagnosed in women are thought to be due directly to an inherited faulty gene . In men, this might be more common. Doctors think that around 5 to 10 out of 100 breast cancers diagnosed in men are due to inherited faulty genes . In men with breast cancer, changes in the BRCA2 faulty gene are more common than BRCA1.

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Diagnosis Of Male Breast Cancer

Doctors use a number of different diagnostic tests to find out whether or not breast cancer is present and, if so, whether it has spread outside the breast. Diagnostic tests are also used to gather more information about the cancer to guide decisions about treatment.

If you have possible symptoms of male breast cancer, your doctor may recommend some combination of the following diagnostic tests:

Each time your doctors remove tissue from your breast or lymph nodes whether as part of the initial biopsy or during surgery for breast cancer they will send it to a lab for testing. The tests will tell whether or not cancer is present and, if so, will provide information about the characteristics of the cancer. All of the test results together make up your pathology report. Your doctors will discuss the results in your pathology report with you. The information in the report will help you and your doctors decide which treatments are best for you.

In most cases, you can expect the pathology report to classify the breast cancer as one of the following:

Learn more about the information that may be in your pathology report.

If you are a man who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you and your medical team will develop a treatment plan based on the characteristics of the cancer and other factors.

Learn more about the Treatment of Male Breast Cancer.

What To Expect During The Procedure


Mammograms use X-rays to help detect breast cancer. Each breast is visualized one at a time. Before your mammogram, a healthcare provider will discuss your health history and take your vitals, such as your weight and blood pressure. Tell the healthcare provider if you have breast implants.

Next, they will tell you about the procedure, what to expect, and post-care follow-up. After you consent to the procedure, the mammographer will ask you to remove your shirt so they can begin. The entire visit typically takes about 15 minutes.

You will stand in front of the mammography machine. The mammographer will position your chest on the machine. Two or more images are taken of each side of the chest, repositioning between each image. For each image, your chest will be compressed between two plates for 10 to 15 seconds while an X-ray is taken.

You will likely only have a sensation of pressure during the compression, but it might be painful. If it hurts, tell your mammographer, and they can try to adjust the pressure.

When complete, the mammographer may check to ensure the images are of good quality and repeat the imaging if needed. You can then put your shirt on and leave the imaging room.

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About Breast Cancer In Men

Breast cancer is often thought of as a condition that only affects women, but men can also develop it.

It’s much less common in men than women.

The cancer develops in the small amount of breast tissue men have behind their nipples. The most common symptom is a hard, painless lump in one of the breasts.

However, the vast majority of breast lumps are caused by a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged.

Breast cancer in men can also cause nipple problems, such as the nipple turning in on itself or nipple discharge.

Read more about preventing cancer

Can I Prevent Male Breast Cancer

You may not be able to prevent breast cancer. But you can lower your risk of developing the disease by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excess alcohol and getting plenty of exercise.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor. You may consider genetic testing to see if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. These gene changes increase your risk of breast cancer. People with these gene changes should visit their healthcare provider regularly and get frequent cancer screenings.

Read Also: Types Of Genetic Testing For Breast Cancer

What Types Of Breast Cancer Are Most Common In Men

The types of breast cancer men get are similar to those in women. The most common types of male breast cancer are:

In rare cases, like women, men can get other types of breast cancer, including inflammatory breast cancer, Phyllodes tumors, Pagets disease of the breast, and sarcomas.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer: Symptoms and Risk Factors

Many people dont know that men can get breast cancer because they dont think of men as having breasts. But men do have a small amount of breast tissue.

Breast cancer in men is cancer that starts in this small amount of breast tissue.

Breast cancer in men is very rare. Around 370 men are diagnosed each year in the UK.

Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, although younger men can be affected.

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Coping With Breast Cancer

If your results show you have breast cancer, you may feel a range of emotions such as shock, fear, disbelief, anger, guilt and sadness.

You may find it hard to take in or believe what you are being told.

Try not to keep your feelings to yourself or cope on your own. There are people who can support you, so dont be afraid to ask for help.

What Are The Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer

Symptoms of male breast cancer are similar to symptoms in female breast cancer. They include:

  • An area of swelling or a lump in the breast area

  • Redness or skin changes on the breast, areola, or nipple

  • Dimpling of the skin over the breast

  • Nipple discharge

  • Nipple or areola pain

In both men and women, it can be hard to tell the difference between normal breast tissue and a cancerous lump. Cancer often presents as a new or changing area of the breast. Most of the time these symptoms turn out not to be cancer. But if you notice something new or changing on your body, its always a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider.

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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men

The main symptom of breast cancer in men is a hard lump in one of your breasts. The lump is almost always painless.

The lump is usually located underneath the nipple and areola .

However, the vast majority of breast lumps are caused by a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged.

Less common symptoms of male breast cancer include:

  • the nipple beginning to turn in on itself
  • the nipple becoming hard and inflamed, and looking sore
  • fluid leaking from the nipple

Men With Breast Cancer Usually Have Lumps That Can Be Felt

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer For Male

Lumps and other signs may be caused by male breast cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast.
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast.
  • Fluid from the nipple, especially if it’s bloody.
  • Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola .
  • Dimples in the breast that look like the skin of an orange, called peau dorange.

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What Else Could It Be

Several health issues can bring on symptoms that look like signs of breast cancer in men. Some of them are:

Gynecomastia. This is when your breast tissue gets larger or swells. It’s usually due to a hormonal issue. It can also cause a lump to grow under your nipple.

Infections. These can lead to painful inflammation or pockets of pus . You may also run a fever.

Lipoma. This is an oval-shaped lump thatâs made of fat. It rarely brings on other symptoms.

Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia . This noncancerous breast lesion can feel like a small lump. In some cases, it makes breasts larger.

Granular cell tumor. Itâs usually benign, and it often shows up as a single, painless lump.

Joggerâs nipple. If you do a lot of exercise that makes your shirt rub against your chest, it can irritate your nipples and cause pain, redness, or bleeding. Itâs more common when the weatherâs hot and humid.

Mastitis. This means inflamed breast tissue. It can lead to redness, warmth, pain, and swelling. An infection can cause it.

Skin rash. These can show up anywhere on your body, including your chest. The affected skin can become tender, red, scaly, or itchy. Just a few of the things that can cause a rash are eczema, yeast infections, and hives.

Show Sources

American Cancer Society: âBreast Cancer Signs and Symptoms,â âCan Breast Cancer in Men Be Found Early?â âSigns and Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men.â

UpToDate: âBreast Cancer in Men.â

Causes And Risk Factors

The cause of breast cancer in Black men is largely unknown. Genetic damage to DNA is always found in breast cancer, but why or how this happens is a mystery.

Still, there are known risk factors that can help unpack this story. They include:

  • Inherited genetic mutations
  • Acquired gene mutations: Exposure to radiation can damage DNA in cells. Mutations to tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes due to cancer-causing chemicals in our environment or diet may also play a role, but none have been identified as outright causes of male breast cancer.
  • A family history of breast cancer: About one out of five men with breast cancer has a close relative, male or female, with the disease.
  • A personal history of cancer
  • Prior exposure to radiation: Young men who have had radiation therapy for another condition, like Hodgkins lymphoma, are especially at high risk.
  • Hormone imbalance: Certain medical conditions can create a hormone imbalance in the body, increasing your risk of breast cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Approximately 3% of all cancer can be attributed to a lack of physical activity. There is strong evidence that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise decreases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Older age: The average age for a man with breast cancer is 72 years old. Black men are often diagnosed at an even younger age.

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What Are The Symptoms

The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are

  • A lump or swelling in the breast.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.

These symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. If you have any symptoms or changes, see your doctor right away.

Special Types Of Invasive Breast Carcinoma

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There are some special types of breast cancer that are sub-types of invasive carcinoma. They are much less common than the breast cancers named above.

Some of these may have a better or worse prognosis than standard infiltrating ductal carcinoma.

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma
  • Medullary carcinoma
  • Metaplastic carcinoma
  • Micropapillary carcinoma

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If You Have Breast Cancer

If youre diagnosed with breast cancer youll be told if it is early breast cancer, also known as primary breast cancer, or if breast cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, known as secondary or metastatic breast cancer.

Youll also be given more detailed information that will help your specialist team decide which treatments to recommend.

Youll be introduced to a breast care nurse who will talk to you about your diagnosis and treatment. They will offer you support and written information and can be a point of contact throughout your treatment and afterwards.

To find out more about the information and support we can offer, call our Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

When youre a man with breast cancer, it can be hard to find people who understand. Thats why theres a space just for men on our online discussion Forum. Its a confidential area where you can share tips and information, and talk about whats on your mind, with other men who really get it.

Support Groups And Resources

Men with breast cancer may feel like they dont have as many resources in comparison to women with breast cancer. But there are many support groups and resources for men. You can look at your local hospital and cancer center as well as many online communities.

Consider starting with these resources:

Recommended Reading: When Breast Cancer Spreads To The Lungs

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Symptoms of breast cancer can mimic those of other conditions, such as gynecomastia or lipomas. Most breast lumps are benign, not cancerous. However, benign cysts, common in females, are not common in males.

Male breast cancer is rare, with an estimated 2,710 new cases in the United States in 2022. However, getting the proper treatment depends on getting the right diagnosis in a timely fashion. And breast cancer is easier to treat before it spreads. Here are some signs that you should consult with a healthcare provider:

  • You have a breast lump.
  • There are changes to your nipple, areola, or skin.
  • Your breasts look uneven, misshapen, or swollen.
  • You have swollen lymph nodes under your arm or near your collarbone.
  • You have a personal history of cancer.
  • You have a family history of breast cancer.

What Do Lumps In My Breast Mean

Pin on Male Breast Cancer

Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.

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Recommended Reading: Breast Cancer Lump Look Like

What Are The Treatments For Male Breast Cancer

Male breast cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease. Your team of providers will discuss your options with you. Your medical history will help guide what treatment is best for you. Treatments include:

  • Surgery: During breast cancer surgery, your provider removes as much of the tumor as possible. You may need a lumpectomy or a mastectomy . Because men have limited breast tissue, mastectomy is more commonly done. You may also need surgery to remove lymph nodes.
  • Radiation: Your provider uses targeted radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Radiation for breast cancer usually follows surgery .
  • Chemotherapy : Your provider delivers chemotherapy drugs into a vein, usually through an infusion. You might also take oral chemotherapy pills . These medications kill cancer cells and stop them from multiplying. You may receive chemo treatments over several weeks or months.
  • Hormone therapy : Your provider prescribes medications that affect your hormones. These drugs may lower levels of estrogen or block the effects of estrogen. Providers usually use hormone therapy to treat women with breast cancer, but it can be an effective treatment for men, too. These medications treat breast cancers that use hormones to grow. Hormone therapy can be given in the form of pills and/or injections.
  • Medications: Several medications kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Your provider will discuss these medications with you. These may include medications called targeted therapy.


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