Where Does Breast Cancer Start In Men
Everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue. Breast tissue consists of milk-producing glands , ducts that carry milk to the nipples, and fat.
During puberty, women begin developing more breast tissue, but men don’t because they are also born with some pre-existing “breast” tissues in their bodies already which can lead them into developing cancer as well!
There are many types of breast cancer that can occur in men. In fact, about 1% to 2% of all cancers diagnosed among males each year are breast cancer! The good news is that this type has a high survival rate when treated and detected early enough however, it does have the tendency to metastasize more than other forms because there’s less tissue between skin cells making it easier for cells from elsewhere on your body or even another person to enter into the area undetected.
Types of breast cancer diagnosed in men include:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma, which is the most common type for both sexes. It typically occurs near or on milk glands and may spread to lymph nodes close by.
- Lobular carcinoma does not usually occur until later stages because it develops from cells that produce only small amounts of estrogen during puberty . As a result, lobular cancers are more likely to be ER-negative than other types.
- Other types of cancer. Other, rarer types that can occur in men include Paget’s disease and inflammatory breast cancer.
Do Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer
Underwire bras do not increase your risk of breast cancer.
There have been some concerns that the wires in the cup of underwire bras may restrict the flow of lymph fluid in the breast causing toxins to build up in the area. However, theres no reliable evidence to support this.
If your bra is too tight or too small, the wires can dig into your breasts and cause discomfort, pain or swelling. Find out more about wearing a well-fitting bra.
What Increases Mens Risk Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in both genders is caused by mutations in the genes, most commonly the BRCA gene. What causes the mutation remains unknown. However, scientists have identified certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer
- Genetic predisposition
- Older age
- Hormonal therapy
- Klinefelter’s syndrome
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What Is Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is a type of cancer that grows in a mans breast tissue. Although male breasts cant produce milk, they do have fatty tissue, ducts and breast cells. Breast tissue in men is similar to young girls breast tissue before they start puberty. Cancer develops when cells in these tissues grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor.
Treatment for male breast cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. The outlook depends on the tumors size and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Lobular Carcinoma In Situ
Lobular carcinoma in situ may also be called lobular neoplasia. In LCIS, cells that look like cancer cells are growing in the lobules of the milk-producing glands of the breast, but they havent grown through the wall of the lobules. LCIS is not a true pre-invasive cancer because it does not turn into an invasive cancer if left untreated, but it is linked to an increased risk of invasive cancer in both breasts. LCIS is rarely, if ever seen in men.
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Genetic Testing In Men With Or At Risk For Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in men is sometimes caused by inherited mutations in certain genes. You can inherit gene mutations from your mother or your father and can potentially pass them on to your sons and daughters.
The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1% for men who have a BRCA1 gene mutation and 7-8% for men who have a BRCA2 gene mutation, compared to a risk of 0.1% for men in the general population. Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also associated with breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand the specific risks from those genes.
According to guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, all men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should be offered genetic counseling and genetic testing for genetic mutations linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.
Men who havent been diagnosed with breast cancer but who have a family history of breast, ovarian, pancreatic, or prostate cancer, or who have a family member who was found to have an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of cancer, should also consider getting genetic testing.
Here are some of the reasons its useful for you and your medical team to know if you have a gene mutation linked to a higher risk of breast cancer:
Targeted Cancer Drug Therapy
Your doctor will check your cancer cells for proteins called HER2 receptors. But these are rarely found in male breast cancer. If your cancer cells have a lot of these receptors, your doctor will prescribe a targeted drug treatment for you.
The most common targeted drug for breast cancer is trastuzumab .
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Screening For Male Breast Cancer
Men typically are not routinely screened for breast cancer like women are. However, it is recommended that men who are considered to be at a higher risk of breast cancer undergo routine screening. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, high-risk men should have an annual clinical breast exam every year and self- breast exams beginning at the age of 35.
If a suspicious lump is found, further testing such as mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs, and blood chemistry profiles can be used to determine whether or not you have breast cancer. Your healthcare provider can review your medical history to determine whether or not you are at a higher risk of developing male breast cancer.
Sharing Your Diagnosis With Others
You might find it difficult to tell others about your diagnosis. If so, it can be helpful to start by telling your family and close friends first. This will help you become familiar with peoples responses and reactions. As breast cancer in men is rare, you may find that people want to ask you questions. You may like to have a few answers prepared.
Many people who are diagnosed with cancer find that it affects their friendships. Sadly, this usually happens when friends and family dont know how to cope with the news. Sometimes, a person you thought would be there for you will respond by stepping back. At other times, the opposite happens, and people who you do not have regular contact with you may respond by making contact and offering help. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to respond to breast cancer. Just find what works for you, your family and your friends.
Seek out support that is available to you like family, friends, doctors and nurses. Ask lots of questions and get as much information as you can to understand the disease. I found reading online forums, books and pamphlets helpful. Matthew
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Male Breast Cancer Is Sometimes Caused By Inherited Gene Mutations
The genes in cells carry the hereditary information that is received from a persons parents. Hereditary breast cancer makes up about 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some mutated genes related to breast cancer, such as BRCA2, are more common in certain ethnic groups.Men who have a mutated gene related to breast cancer have an increased risk of this disease.
Risk Factors For Male Breast Cancer
Several factors are known to increase the risk that a man will develop breast cancer. But its important to know that many men who develop breast cancer do not have any of these risk factors.
Factors that can increase a mans breast cancer risk include:
The risk of male breast cancer increases as you age. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States is about 67. But breast cancer can occur in young men, too.
A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if any of his close relatives have had breast cancer, and especially if any male relatives have had the disease.
Men who inherit certain genetic mutations from their mothers or fathers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. A man who inherits a BRCA1 mutation has about a 1% risk of developing breast cancer in his lifetime, compared to a risk of 0.1% for the average man. A man who inherits a BRCA2 mutation has a 7% to 8% risk.
Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also linked to breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand those risks.
You may think of testosterone as a male hormone and estrogen as a female hormone. The truth is, both men and women have different levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Men have less estrogen than women, but all men have some estrogen in their bodies.
Higher levels of estrogen can increase the risk of male breast cancer. Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of:
What Are Risk Factors For Male Breast Cancer
There are several risk factors that may increase the chances of developing breast cancer. However, most men with these risk factors do not go on to develop breast cancer so it is difficult to correlate what causes breast cancer in men.
- Age. The average age at diagnosis is 68.
- Family history. One out of five men with breast cancer have a relative with breast cancer.
- Inherited gene mutations. BRCA2 increases the risk of developing breast cancer men with this gene mutation have a six in 100 chance of developing it. Men with BRCA2 gene mutation have a one in 100 chance.
- Klinefelters syndrome. In this syndrome, men receive an extra X chromosome, causing them to have extra estrogen and less testosterone, which sometimes causes gynecomastia .
- Estrogen treatment. A man may have received estrogen as a treatment for prostate cancer in the past.
- Liver disease. Liver disease may cause elevated estrogen levels. Excess alcohol intake can also cause elevated estrogen levels.
- Obesity. Fat cells convert male hormones into female hormones, causing higher levels of estrogen.
Types Of Hormonal Therapy For Treatment Of Male Breast Cancer
There are several approaches to hormonal cancer therapy, whether for men or for women. Some treatments are designed to prevent receptors in the cancerous cells from responding to hormones. Other types of therapy reduce the hormone levels in the patients system.
Most hormonal cancer therapies for breast cancer in men have some pretty negative side effects. Libido suffers, hair is lost, weight gain is usual, and depression is common.
But todays male breast cancer patients vastly prefer modern hormonal treatments over the hormone reduction plan that was the standard of care fifty years ago. That procedure is an orchiectomy, more commonly known as castration.
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What Is Yale Medicines Approach To Detecting And Treating Breast Cancer In Men
Our radiologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose even the rarest forms of breast cancer, including male breast cancerearly and accurately. Our radiologists who subspecialize in breast imaging are among the most highly skilled leaders in the field. They are nationally and internationally recognized for their skill in diagnosing breast cancer. Additionally, our radiologists conduct research on 3D mammography and dense breast imaging, which is advancing the field of radiology.
A man with a breast-related complaint will be scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound within a few days, Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says. If a suspicious mass is seen, then a needle biopsy is scheduled soon after. If a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, our intake specialists coordinate all necessary appointments with the patient as soon as possible, so that treatment can begin quickly.
Genetics And Family History Increase A Man’s Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
Like female breast cancer, male breast cancer can have a genetic component or inheritance pattern to it.
“Having a mutation in one of the BRCA genes increases a man’s risk of developing breast cancer,” explains Dr. Darcourt, who notes that a BRCA2 defect increases the risk more than a defect in BRCA1. “These mutations are often inherited, but not always.”
Exactly how often is male breast cancer caused by changes that “run in the family?” The American Cancer Society reports that 20% of men with breast cancer have a close relative who has or had breast cancer.
“Other mutations that may contribute to breast cancer in men include changes to the PTEN, TP53, PALB2 and CHEK2 genes,” adds Dr. Darcourt.
Other male breast cancer risk factors include:
- Increasing age
- Taking an estrogen-related drug to treat a health condition, such as prostate cancer
- A genetic syndrome called Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Liver cirrhosis or liver disease
- Heavy alcohol use
- Inflamed testicles , undescended testes or a past testicular injury
“Having a mutation in one of these genes, a family history or another risk factor doesn’t mean a man will develop breast cancer at some point in his lifetime, but it does mean that his risk is higher,” says Dr. Darcourt. “Because of this, he should be more aware of the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer and alert his doctor as soon as he notices something concerning.”
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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.
Why Does The Myth Exist
Although men can develop breast cancer too, it is still relatively rare and women are at a far greater risk. In fact, the American Cancer Society says, Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. Why is this? Nobody is entirely sure, although a common theory is that simply by having more breast tissue, women have a greater mass in which to develop cancerous cells so are inevitably at higher risk. Women also tend to have much higher levels of estrogenA female sex hormone that is primarily produced by the ovaries. Its primary function is to regulate the menstrual cycle and assist in the production of secondary sex characteristics such as breasts. It may even play a role in the production of cancer cells in the breast tissue. which could well be a contributory factor.
Unfortunately, because breast cancer in men is not common, studies into it are also infrequent. Until this area of research develops further it is unlikely that we will get a more accurate answer to why men are less susceptibleThe state or fact of being likely or liable to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing. to breast cancer than women.
Post updated on May 14, 2020.
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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.
Which Men Are More Likely To Get Breast Cancer
It’s rare for a man under age 35 to get breast cancer. Your chance of getting breast cancer goes up with age. Most breast cancers in men happen between ages 60 and 70.
Other things that raise the odds for male breast cancer include:
- Breast cancer in a close female relative
- History of radiation exposure of the chest
- Enlarged breasts because of drug or hormone treatments, some infections, or poisons
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Where Breast Cancer Starts
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple . Some start in the glands that make breast milk . Men have these ducts and glands, too, even though they aren’t normally functional. There are also types of breast cancer that start in other types of breast cells, but these are less common.
Although many types of breast cancer can cause a lump in the breast, not all do. There are other symptoms of breast cancer you should watch for and report to a health care provider.
Its also important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer . Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or malignant and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.