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Can Guys Have Breast Cancer

What Are The Risk Factors

Did you know that men can have breast cancer?

Several factors can increase a mans chance of getting breast cancer. Having risk factors does not mean you will get breast cancer.

  • Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are found after age 50.
  • Genetic mutations. Inherited changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase breast cancer risk.
  • Family history of breast cancer. A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if a close family member has had breast cancer.
  • Radiation therapy treatment. Men who had radiation therapy to the chest have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy treatment. Drugs containing estrogen , which were used to treat prostate cancer in the past, increase mens breast cancer risk.
  • Klinefelter syndrome.Klinefelter syndromeexternal icon is a rare genetic condition in which a male has an extra X chromosome. This can lead to the body making higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of androgens .
  • Certain conditions that affect the testicles. Injury to, swelling in, or surgery to remove the testicles can increase breast cancer risk.
  • Liver disease. Cirrhosis of the liver can lower androgen levels and raise estrogen levels in men, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
  • Overweight and obesity. Older men who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than men at a normal weight.

Talk to your doctor about your familys history of cancer.

Male Breast Cancer Is A Disease In Which Malignant Cells Form In The Tissues Of The Breast

Breast cancer may occur in men. Breast cancer may occur in men at any age, but it usually occurs in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.

The following types of breast cancer are found in men:

Lobular carcinoma in situ , which sometimes occurs in women, has not been seen in men.

Treatments For Breast Cancer In Men

The treatment for breast cancer in men depends on how far the cancer has spread.

Possible treatments include:

  • surgery to remove the affected breast tissue and nipple and some of the glands in your armpit
  • radiotherapy where radiation is used to kill cancer cells
  • chemotherapy where cancer medicine is used to kill cancer cells
  • other medicines that help stop breast cancer growing including tamoxifen and trastuzumab

Many men have surgery followed by 1 or more of the other treatments. This can help stop the cancer coming back in the future.

Read more about treatments for breast cancer in men.

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If The Cancer Has Spread Beyond The Breast

Some men are diagnosed with cancer that has already spread. Or the cancer might come back and spread some time after treatment. This is called secondary breast cancer, advanced breast cancer, or metastatic breast cancer.

In this situation your doctor might recommend:

  • chemotherapy

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men

Hereâs What Itâs Like To Be A Man With Breast Cancer ...

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

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How Breast Cancer Spreads

Breast cancer can spread when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph system and are carried to other parts of the body.

The lymph system is a network of lymph vessels found throughout the body. The lymph vessels carry lymph fluid and connect lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped collections of immune system cells. Lymph vessels are like small veins, except that they carry a clear fluid called lymph away from the breast. Lymph contains tissue fluid and waste products, as well as immune system cells. Breast cancer cells can enter lymph vessels and start to grow in lymph nodes. Most of the lymph vessels of the breast drain into:

  • Lymph nodes under the arm
  • Lymph nodes around the collar bone
  • Lymph nodes inside the chest near the breast bone

If the cancer cells have spread to your lymph nodes, there is a higher chance that the cells could have also traveled through the lymph system and spread to other parts of your body. The more lymph nodes with breast cancer cells, the more likely it is that the cancer may be found in other organs. Because of this, finding cancer in one or more lymph nodes often affects your treatment plan. Usually, surgery to remove one or more lymph nodes will be needed to know whether the cancer has spread.

Still, not all men with cancer cells in their lymph nodes develop metastases to other areas, and some men can have no cancer cells in their lymph nodes and later develop metastases.

Breast Cancer In Men: How Does It Happen

Both men and women are born with breast tissue. However, during puberty, women develop more breast tissue, while men dont. But because men have this breast tissue, they can develop breast cancer.

The main concern is that breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later than in women, because men tend to be less suspicious about a change or lump in their chest, Dr. Cottrell says. Thats why its important to know your risk factors and the warning signs.

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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.

Where Breast Cancer Starts

Men can get breast cancer, too

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.

A small number of cancers start in other tissues in the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas and are not really thought of as breast cancers.

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.

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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.

How Is Breast Cancer In Men Diagnosed

Your doctor will begin to make a diagnosis by asking about your symptoms, whether you have taken or are currently taking certain medications associated with breast cancer, and whether you have any other known risk factors. A breast exam is also an important part of diagnosis. Your doctor will visually examine and feel your chest/breasts for signs of breast cancer.

Additional tests are required for diagnosis. Your doctor may order imaging tests such as a mammogram, ultrasound, or a magnetic resonance imaging study of the affected breast. But to make a definitive diagnosis, a biopsy of the breast tissue is necessary. In this procedure, a small piece of breast tissue is removed, usually with a needle . A pathologist will analyze the tissue sample to check for the presence of cancer cells, and, if they are present, their hormone receptor and HER2 status.

If the biopsy confirms a diagnosis of breast cancer, your doctor will order more tests to see whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast. This is known as staging. It may involve additional imaging tests such as a chest X-ray, positron emission tomography , or a bone scan. In some cases, a sentinel lymph node biopsy is necessary.

Once your doctor has determined the size and type of tumor and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, he or she will assign the cancer to a stage. Staging helps doctors make a prognosis and design a patient-specific treatment plan.

Also Check: Breast Cancer In Lymph Nodes Prognosis

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.

Do Underwire Bras Cause Breast Cancer

After the usual chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Goel was ...

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.

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Treatment Brings A New Normal

Roark, who retired last June from Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way, found chemotherapy unexpectedly enervating. It didnât feel too bad at first, but soon âIâd come home and I didnât want to move.â

His girlfriend, Deb, provided plenty of nurturing during his surgery, radiation and the chemotherapy that zapped his hair.

He went back to work part time the first June after his diagnosis, without hair and with little energy. In retrospect, he said, he took on too much. In 2015, one year after his chemotherapy ended, Roark struggled with pins and needles in his feet unfortunately, the treatment for his neuropathy leaves him foggy-headed and endlessly sleepy.

Del Gardo remembers that treatment was such a whirlwind he hardly had time to digest the knowledge that he had breast cancer. Chemotherapy sapped his strength and decimated his once thick, lustrous hair .

âIt took months for me to embrace the baldness,â Del Gardo said. âI felt like a different person.â

He also encountered side effects from hormonal therapy that he never expected, like hot flashes and joint pain. The whole ordeal left him weak â too weak to fight when his employer let him go midway through treatment. After struggling for 10 minutes to open a Gatorade bottle for his son, Del Gardo has returned to the gym to rebuild his strength.

Del Gardo is less sanguine: âPeople are visual creatures. What women want to date a guy with no nipples?â

What Are The Different Types Of Male Breast Cancer

The most common type of male breast cancer is infiltrating ductal carcinoma, which is also a common type of breast cancer in women. Ductal carcinoma refers to cancers with origins in the ducts of the breast, and the term infiltrating means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the ducts into the surrounding tissue. On the other hand, lobular cancers , common in women, are extremely rare in men since male breast tissue does not normally contain lobules.

Other less common types of cancers of the breast that have been reported in men include ductal carcinoma in situ , cystosarcoma phylloides , and Pagetâs disease of the breast . Some other types of breast cancer that occur in men are named for their growth patterns and microscopic appearance of the cancer cells, including papillary carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer , and medullary carcinoma.

About 85% of breast cancers in men have estrogen receptors on their cell membranes. Estrogen receptors on the cell membranes allow estrogen molecules to bind to the cancer cells. Estrogen binding to the cancer cells can stimulate cell growth and multiplication.

The most common clinical sign of breast cancer in men is a firm, usually painless mass located just under the nipple. There may not be other associated symptoms. The average size of breast cancer in men when first discovered is about 2.5 cm in diameter. The cancer may cause skin changes in the area of the nipple. These changes can include

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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 .

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms Include Lumps And Visible Changes To The Skin

Can men get breast cancer?

Like breast cancer in women, male breast cancer often presents with a lump.

“Because men have less breast tissue than women, it’s much easier for men and their doctors to feel a lump,” adds Dr. Darcourt. “On the other hand, having less tissue also means the cancer doesn’t need to grow very large before it can spread outside of the breast into the underlying muscle, for instance. This is why it’s so critical for men to speak up when they notice a lump even if it feels small and harmless.”

The full list of symptoms of breast cancer in men include:

  • A firm mass in the breast
  • Fixation of the mass to the underlying skin
  • Nipple retraction
  • Dimpling of the skin
  • Redness of or discharge from the nipple

Even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, consult with your doctor if you notice a lump or concerning change in the appearance of the skin covering your breast or your nipple. The doctor can perform a breast exam and begin ordering the tests needed to rule out or diagnose breast cancer.

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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, with only around 1 new case of breast cancer diagnosed for every 100,000 men in the UK each year.

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 Male Breast Cancer Be Prevented Or Avoided

Men cannot prevent or avoid breast cancer. The American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend breast cancer screening for men. However, men should talk to their doctor if they are at high risk for breast cancer. Their doctor might suggest genetic testing or a mammogram.

Factors that can increase the risk of male breast cancer include:

  • Risk of cancer increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is between 60 and 70 years old.
  • A family history of breast cancer and/or mutations of the BRCA gene increase risk.
  • High levels of estrogen. This could be a result of genes, certain medicines, or hormone treatments. Men who are overweight or alcoholic also might have more estrogen.
  • Men who have radiation exposure to their chest area could develop breast cancer.
  • This is a benign condition in which a mans breasts are larger than normal. In turn, they have more breast tissue and are at risk of breast cancer.
  • Klinefelter syndrome. Men who have this genetic disorder have two or more X chromosomes, along with a Y chromosome. Klinefelter syndrome is a birth defect. Men who have it can have enlarged breasts, as well as other traits.

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