Common Types Of Breast Cancer In Men
The most common types of breast cancer are:
- invasive ductal carcinoma, which begins in the ducts that would carry milk to the nipple
- invasive lobular carcinoma, which begins in the lobules that would produce milk
- ductal carcinoma in situ, which is considered a pre-cancerous condition because cancer cells have not spread outside the duct
Breast cancer in males is a lot like breast cancer in females. However, research suggests some differences, including:
- Males tend to develop breast cancer at an older age, typically between 60 and 70.
- Males are more likely to have estrogen receptor-positive tumors.
- Male breast cancer is more likely to be associated with a BRCA2 gene mutation.
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:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: Cancer that has spread beyond thecells liningducts in the breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer in men.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: Abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a duct; also called intraductal carcinoma.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A type of cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm.
- Paget disease of the nipple: A tumor that has grown from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple.
Lobular carcinoma in situ , which sometimes occurs in women, has not been seen in men.
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.
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What Are Risk Factors For Breast Cancer In Men
A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of having a disease. Risk factors for a certain type of cancer might include smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. The exact cause of someones cancer may not be known. But risk factors can make it more likely for a person to have cancer.;
Things you should know about risk factors for cancer:;
Risk factors can increase a person’s risk, but they do not necessarily cause the disease.
Some people with 1 or more risk factors never develop cancer. Other people can develop cancer and have no risk factors.
Some risk factors are very well known. But there is ongoing research about risk factors for many types of cancer.
Some risk factors, such as family history, may not be in your control. But others may be things you can change. Knowing the risk factors can help you make choices that might lower your risk. For example, if an unhealthy diet is a risk factor, you may choose to eat healthy foods. If excess weight is a risk factor, your healthcare provider may check your weight or help you lose weight.
Risk factors;for breast cancer in men include:
Female relatives with breast cancer
A breast cancer 2 gene mutation in the family
If Cancer Is Found Tests Are Done To Study The Cancer Cells
- How quickly the cancer may grow.
- How likely it is that the cancer will spread through the body.
- How well certain treatments might work.
- How likely the cancer is to recur .
Tests include the following:
- Estrogen and progesterone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of estrogen and progesterone receptors in cancer tissue. If there are more estrogen and progesterone receptors than normal, the cancer is called estrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive. This type of breast cancer may grow more quickly. The test results show whether treatment to block estrogen and progesterone may stop the cancer from growing.
- HER2 test: A laboratory test to measure how many HER2/neu genes there are and how much HER2/neu protein is made in a sample of tissue. If there are more HER2/neu genes or higher levels of HER2/neu protein than normal, the cancer is called HER2/neu positive. This type of breast cancer may grow more quickly and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. The cancer may be treated with drugs that target the HER2/neu protein, such as trastuzumab and pertuzumab.
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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.
Statistics And Survival Rates
The prognosis for breast cancer in men is similar to that in women.
According to the American Cancer Society, the chances of surviving 5 years or more after diagnosis are, on average:
- 96% when cancer affects only the breast tissue at diagnosis
- 83% when it affects nearby areas as well as the breast
- 23% when it has spread to other parts of the body
For this reason, it is essential to seek help as soon as a person notices changes. Early stage breast cancer responds well to treatment.
Diagnostic methods and treatments have improved in the last few years, and so the chances of living for at least 5 years after diagnosis are probably higher than the above figures for people currently receiving a diagnosis.
If a person notices changes in their breast, they should see a doctor.
The doctor will symptoms and the individuals personal and family medical history, including any history of estrogen use or radiation treatment.
They will also carry out a physical examination.
They may suggest the following tests:
- a mammogram
- a nipple discharge test
- a biopsy
Sometimes, a doctor will recommend removing a lump and carrying out a biopsy at the same time. They may only remove a part of the area that appears to be affected and carry out a test, or they may remove the whole area, including some of the normal breast tissue surrounding it.
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Men Are Diagnosed With Breast Cancer At More Advanced Stages
Since men dont get mammograms on the regular, an affected area may develop into a larger lump before it is found in a male patient, says Dr. Cate. This means by the time a man sees his doctor about a lump, the breast cancer may already have progressed to a later stage. They dont expect and have the potential to delay their diagnosis, explains Dr. Gucalp. A delayed diagnosis can make breast cancer more difficult to treat. More invasive approaches may be required, like a mastectomy or chemotherapy.
A Unique Set Of Challenges
About 1 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States are in men. In 2019, about 2,700 men are projected to develop breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, compared to 270,000 women. Breast cancer in women is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Measured alone, breast cancer in men would rank behind at least 30 other cancers in the number of yearly diagnoses.;Discover more breast cancer statistics.
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How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Male Breast Cancer
Diagnosis of breast cancer requires identifying cancer cells in tissue specimens obtained by taking a sample of the growth — also called a “mass” or “tumor” — by the technique of biopsy. Since men have little breast tissue, cancers in male breasts are easily palpable and are often found on self-examination. Also, they are therefore easily accessible to biopsy. Fine needle aspiration or needle biopsy of a suspicious mass can usually establish a diagnosis. A doctor inserts a needle into the mass to withdraw tissue from the suspicious area. Microscopic examination of the tissue by a pathologist establishes the diagnosis.
Other techniques that may be used to diagnose breast cancer in men include incisional or excisional biopsy of a breast mass. If nipple discharge is present, microscopic examination of a smear of the discharge can sometimes establish the diagnosis.
Research On Male Breast Cancer Is Lacking
Due to the rare nature of male breast cancer, the majority of research currently focuses on women only. As a result, treatment options for men are based on the results of women-based studies, says Dr. Gucalp.
Learning more about the biological differences between male breast cancer and female breast cancer could help experts develop more effective and personalized treatment options for men. Ultimately we need to focus either entire trials on men, which is difficult given the incidence of breast cancer in men, or develop trials with cohorts of male patients, Dr. Gucalp says, noting that the field is improving in male breast cancer research.
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The Female And Male Breast
Early in life, boys and girls have a similar amount of breast tissue. Female hormones present during puberty cause a girls breasts to change. The breasts develop glands that produce milk , ducts that carry milk, and supporting fatty tissue. As a boy enters puberty, he isnt exposed to these growth-inducing hormones, but rather male hormones that restrict his breasts from developing.
Men Too Can Have Breast Cancer: Hear It From A Survivor
He was a chubby teenager, with a prominent right breast, and everyone told him the chubbiness would go away with age. The ignorance led to the 45-year-old telecom engineer, Sanjay Goel, ignoring the symptoms that later led to a full-blown breast cancer.
I always had warning signs coming at 24, I noticed fluid discharge from my right breast and by age 30 there was a lump, however only when bleeding happened I decided to consult a doctor, says Goel.
As luck would have it, Goels doctor also did not pick up the warning sign either, and put him on a course of antibiotic. After taking antibiotics, the symptoms subsided temporarily but returned after almost a year. He again asked me to repeat the medicines. I changed my doctor when I developed pain in my breast, he says.
Goel consulted a family friend who was a surgeon. It was in 2010. He looked worried and asked me to get a specialized test Fine needle aspiration cytology , done. The result was positive for cancer, so I underwent a surgery, he says.
The biopsy also confirmed stage-II cancer that was spreading.
For me cancer meant death; so for a couple of hours after we saw the reports, my wife and I just sat silent without uttering a word. It was difficult to accept for me as I used to lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. In fact, I was big-time into Yoga, so the diagnosis was a shocker, he says.
After the usual chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Goel was put on hormone therapy that is still on.
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Cancer Symptoms In Men
Men are notorious for ignoring health problems. In some cases, if the underlying cause of a problem is cancer, ignoring symptoms could put men at risk. Some cancer symptoms in men are specific only to men , and others symptoms such as pain or fatigue are general and could have many causes.
Breast cancer in men is not common, but is it possible. Any mass in the breast area, or breast changes such as:
- dimpling or puckering of the skin,
- nipple retraction,
Men possess a small amount of nonfunctioning breast tissue that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth of some of the cells of this breast tissue that have the potential to spread elsewhere in the body. These cells become so abnormal in appearance and behavior that they are then called cancer cells.
Breast tissue in healthy young boys and girls consists of tubular structures known as ducts. At puberty, a girl’s ovaries produce female hormones that cause the ducts to grow and milk-producing glands to develop at the ends of the ducts. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the breast also increases as girls go through puberty. On the other hand, male hormones secreted by the testes suppress the growth of breast tissue and the development of lobules. The male breast, therefore, is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated
Treatment for breast cancer is the same in men as in women. It depends on how big the tumor is and how far it has spread. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. For more information, see the National Cancer Institutes Male Breast Cancer Treatment.external icon
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Yes Men Can Get Breast Cancer Here Are The Symptoms To Watch For
- Though rare, men can develop breast cancer and account for about 1 in 100 cases of breast cancer.
- Symptoms of breast cancer in men include lumps, inversion of the nipples, or nipple discharge.
- Having an increased level of estrogen or a genetic history of breast cancer are risk factors.
- Visit Insiders Health Reference library for more advice.
While breast cancer is usually considered a disease that only affects women, anyone with breast cells and tissue can be diagnosed with breast cancer, males included. Even so, male breast cancer is rare.
This isnt a disease thats just for women. Patients often dont realise this which can, unfortunately, lead to delays in diagnosis, says Abisola Olulade, MD, a family medicine physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown in San Diego, California. In the United States, male breast cancer represents between 0.5% and 1.0% of all breast cancers diagnosed each year. This means that about one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man.
In this article well discuss the most common forms of male breast cancers, its symptoms, and potential risk factors.
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 .
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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 Paget’s 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
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.
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