Should Men At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer Get Screening Mammograms
Breast cancer is rare in men and according to the National Cancer Institute, screening is unlikely to be beneficial. Men who are higher risk for breast cancer, such as those who have BRCA mutations or a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer should talk to their doctor about screening mammograms.
How Rare Is Breast Cancer In Men
According to the American Cancer Society: Breast cancer in men is rare less than 1 percent of all breast cancer occurs in men. About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in men in the U.S in 2015. Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women. About 440 men in the U.S. died from breast cancer in 2015.
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:
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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.
Men And Breast Cancer Yes Its A Thing
One of the biggest types of stigmas in the world is breast cancer. Youre probably wondering how breast cancer can be stigmatized if there are so many organizations, movements, and even dedicated colors and symbols for breast cancer right? Since breast cancer affects one specific gender the most, of course, it cant be stigmatized for them, but what about the other gender? When you see these movements, posters, ads, charities and organizations about bringing awareness to breast cancer and fighting for more research, the first thing that comes to your mind is women. Why? Usually, thats who develops breast cancer the most, but did you know that men can develop it too? So if men can develop breast cancer as well, why isnt it talked about as much? Simple, because of stigmas.
Can Men Develop Breast Cancer
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Treating Breast Cancer In Men
Treatment for breast cancer in men largely depends on how far the cancer has spread.
Most hospitals use multidisciplinary teams to treat men with breast cancer. These are teams of specialists who work together to make decisions about the best way to proceed with your treatment.
Before visiting hospital to discuss your treatment options, you may find it useful to write a list of questions you’d like to ask the specialist. For example, you could ask about the advantages and disadvantages of particular treatments.
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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.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Male Breast Cancer
If you notice any symptoms of breast cancer, call your provider right away. Its essential to see your provider for an evaluation as early as possible. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the prognosis.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many men dont think breast cancer can happen to them. So they may not recognize signs when they appear. If you think something isnt right with your chest tissue, see your provider for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment can have a significant impact on the long-term prognosis. Be honest with your provider about your symptoms and how long youve had them. If you have any risk factors for male breast cancer, talk to your provider about how you can reduce your risk.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/15/2021.
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Men With Breast Cancer Usually Have Lumps That Can Be Felt
- 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.
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.
Paget Disease Of The Nipple
This type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple. It may also spread to the areola . The skin of the nipple usually appears crusted, scaly, and red, with areas of itching, oozing, burning, or bleeding. There may also be an underlying lump in the breast.
Paget disease may be associated with DCIS or with infiltrating ductal carcinoma. It is rare and accounts for about 1-3% of female breast cancers and a higher percentage of male breast cancers.
What Are The Odds Of Men Developing Metastatic Breast Cancer
Since men can develop breast cancer, its important to know if they can develop different types of breast cancer as well.
Only one percentof breast cancer occurs in men overall and as stated before, almost all breast cancer cases found in men, developed in their milk ducts.
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When it comes to metastatic breast cancer, some men can develop it from the start. Metastatic breast cancer occurs when undiagnosed breast cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. Doctors refer to this as de novo breast cancer. Men are usually diagnosed with
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Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer .
- The type of breast cancer.
- Estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor levels in the tumor tissue.
- Whether the cancer is also found in the other breast.
- The mans age and general health.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred .
How Fast Does Male Breast Cancer Grow
Studies show that even though breast cancer happens more often now than it did in the past, it doesnt grow any faster than it did decades ago. On average, breast cancers double in size every 180 days, or about every 6 months. Still, the rate of growth for any specific cancer will depend on many factors.
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you have:
- a lump in your breast
- any other worrying symptoms, such as nipple discharge
- a history of breast cancer in members of your family and you’re worried about your chances of getting it
It’s very unlikely you have cancer, but it’s best to get your symptoms checked. Your GP will examine your breast and can refer you for tests and scans for breast cancer if needed.
If you do not have symptoms but have a clear family history of breast cancer, your GP may refer you to a genetic specialist to discuss your risk of getting it.
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.
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Do Men Get Breast Cancer
While breast cancer is most commonly found in women, men can get it as well. About 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses in the U.S. are found in a man with invasive ductal carcinoma being the most common.
Here are some 2022 estimates for breast cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society:
- For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833.
- About 2,710 men will receive an invasive breast cancer diagnosis.
- About 530 men will die from breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among white men than white women.
- Breast cancer in men is about 70 times less common among black men than black women.
- Black women and men with breast cancer often have a worse prognosis.
Men Can Also Develop Breast Cancer
While rare, breast cancer does occur in men and is often diagnosed at a later age and stage than in women, experts say.
Each year in the United States, about 2,000 cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed and about 500 men die from the disease. It can strike at any age, but is most often diagnosed among men at ages 60 to 70, which is five to 10 years later than in women.Read: Blood samples may reveal breast cancer cells
Breast cancer in men is typically diagnosed at a later age and stage than in women because men don’t believe they’re at risk for the disease, said Dr. Tatiana Prowell, a medical oncologist and breast cancer scientific lead at the US Food and Drug Administration’s office of haematology and oncology products.
“You’d think that because men have smaller breasts they would notice a lump instantly. But men don’t expect a breast lump to be cancer, whereas most women who feel a breast lump immediately assume the worst,” she said in an FDA news release.
Treating male breast cancer
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Can Men Actually Develop Breast Cancer
It might not happen as commonly as women, but men can develop breast cancer and more light needs to be shed on it. Doctors arent sure what truly causes breast cancer in men but what they do know is that it usually occurs when the breast cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells.
These cells then form a tumor and metastasize to nearby tissue. In men, breast cancer can form in a few different places. One of them is the milk ducts. This is usually where most men develop breast cancer.
Another area where men can develop breast cancer is in the lobular carcinoma, also known as the milk-producing glands, though this is a rarer type of cancer for men.
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What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk
If several members of your family have had breast or ovarian cancer, or one of your family members has a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, share this information with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling. In men, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of breast cancer, high-grade prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
As a neurosurgeon, Don knew everything in life and in surgery is all risk versus benefit. After discovering his family history of breast cancer, he took responsibility for his own health by getting tested and later having an elective mastectomy.
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