All Cancers Combined Incidence By Age
Incidence rates are strongly related to age for all cancers combined, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2015-2017, on average each year more than a third of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.
Age-specific incidence rates rise steeply from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in the 85 to 89 age group for females and males.
Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in the younger age groups and significantly lower in females than males in the older age groups.The gap is widest at age 40 to 44, when the age-specific incidence rate is 2.1 times higher in females than males.
All Cancers , Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2015-2017
Children aged 0-14, and young people aged 15-24, each account for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases in the UK . Adults aged 25-49 contribute around a tenth of all new cancer cases, with twice as many cases in females as males in this age group. Adults aged 50-74 account for more than half of all new cancer cases, and elderly people aged 75+ account for more than a third , with slightly fewer cases in females than males in both age groups. There are more people aged 50-74 than aged 75+ in the population overall, hence the number of cancer cases is higher in 50-74s, but incidence rates are higher in 75+s.
Yes Men Do Get Breast Cancer
There is a lot of awareness around breast cancer in women and rightly so, as it is one of the top female cancers in South Africa and carries a lifetime risk of one in 25.
However, there is a distinct lack of awareness of the fact that men can also get breast cancer. While the risk is significantly lower and incidences are rare, it is in fact becoming more common.
The issue is that it is often diagnosed late, because men simply do not think that they could have breast cancer, which increases the mortality rate and has implications on treatment.
Men need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and ensure that they have the right medical and gap cover in place to protect them from financial hardship.
Male Breast Cancer Symptoms Include Lumps And Visible Changes To The Skin
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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Protecting Yourself Against Male Breast Cancer
The first step in protecting yourself against breast cancer is understanding how this condition can affect all kinds of people not just women. Once you know breast cancer is capable of affecting men too, its easier to seek help immediately when you notice a change in your breast.
Remember, dont be afraid to seek out medical attention if youre concerned about a new lump, growth, or skin differentiation anywhere in your body, or other symptoms.
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 progesteronereceptors 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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Living With Male Breast Cancer
The process to diagnose and treat cancer can be long and frustrating. Most treatments are invasive and cause side effects. Medicine help counter these, but effects can be long lasting. You likely will need to make changes to your lifestyle.
After treatment, your cancer may subside. Remission can be brief or permanent. Cancer survivors usually require ongoing care. This can include testing and treatment to monitor and manage their health.
Living with cancer is emotional. You might consider joining a support group. Your doctor also might suggest rehabilitation to help with physical and life changes.
Having a male family member with breast cancer is a trigger for genetic testing and counseling. After receiving your diagnosis, a genetic counselor can help you determine if members of your family should be tested for mutations in the BRCA gene. Abnormalities in the BRCA gene cause forms of breast and ovarian cancer.
Male Breast Cancer Is On The Rise
“Breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of the cancers diagnosed in American men each year, but studies suggest that the incidence of male breast cancer is rising,” says Dr. Darcourt.
In fact, one study suggests that breast cancer in men has increased 25% over the last 25 years.
That same study also found that men were more likely to present with a more advanced stage breast cancer at the time of diagnosis as women. Still, male breast cancer is caught in the early stages more often than not. This is important since early-stage breast cancer is easier to treat.
“Although male breast cancer is certainly one of the rarer forms of cancer, it’s important for men to be aware of it,” Dr. Darcourt stresses.
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Men You Should Worry About Brca Genes
Rare, but it happens
Many people simply do not realise that men can indeed get breast cancer. Although it is rare, only accounting for one percent breast cancers, it still happens and the diagnosis is arguably even more devastating for men.
Anatomically, the male breast is very similar to the female breast, and although it lacks the mammary glands and milk ducts, it still contains breast tissue that has the potential to become malignant.
Incidence of male breast cancer is increasing, although up-to-date statistics are difficult to obtain for South Africa.
The outdated National Cancer Registry reports that there were 194 cases in South Africa in 2017, while in the US there are around 2800 cases per year. Risk factors include age and family history of breast cancer, as well as lifestyle factors such as obesity, and oestrogen-related drugs that are used for gender reassignment and in the treatment of prostate cancer.
A case in point
South African Steve Kelly is a breast cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with high-risk Stage 3 Grade 3 breast cancer in December 2018, after his partner felt a lump behind his right nipple.
The nipple also appeared slightly inverted, but otherwise Kelly had no symptoms or feelings of illness.
The lump, a ductal carcinoma about the size of a marble, was surgically removed along with several lymph nodes, and following surgery, he had six months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation.
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How Is Gynaecomastia Treated
In most cases you wont need any treatment or follow-up if you have gynaecomastia. However, its important to go back to your GP if the breast grows larger or becomes painful, or if you have any new symptoms.
For some people, removing the cause of the gynaecomastia is all thats needed to shrink the enlarged breast tissue. Occasionally people may need to have drug treatments or, very rarely, surgery.
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Men Get Breast Cancer Too
In Canada, 240 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year , and 55 are expected to die from the disease. Male breast cancer is most common in men over 60, and is rare for those under 35.
Doctors used to think that breast cancer in men was more dangerous that it was in women, but now it seems about the same. If diagnosed at an early stage, men with breast cancer have a 96% chance of survival. The problem is that most men wait longer before being diagnosed. This might be because men are less aware of this disease or how to detect problems in this area of the body.
What Will The Doctor Do
Sometimes a doctor will discover a lump in a woman’s breast during a routine examination or a patient might come to the doctor with questions about a lump she found.
In other cases, a mammogram may find a lump in the breast that can’t be felt. A mammogram is a special kind of X-ray of the breast that helps doctors see what’s going on inside. Sometimes, other kinds of pictures, like an MRI, also can be taken.
When a lump is found, the doctor will want to test it. The best way to do this is usually with a biopsy. In a biopsy, a small amount of breast tissue is removed with a needle or during a small operation. Then, the tissue is examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
The biopsy may be benign , which means the lump is not cancer. If the biopsy shows cancer cells, the lump is malignant . If a breast lump does contains cancer cells, the woman, along with her doctor and family, will decide what to do next.
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How Dangerous Is Breast Cancer For Males
Breast cancer among men, just like breast cancer among women, can differ in severity. Some men will be able to detect cancer quickly, have damaged cells removed, and receive treatment to send the disease into remission. Other men may not catch cancer early, because theyre less likely to recognise a problem in their breast than a woman. This is because women tend to do more regular self-breast examinations.
Breast cancer is more likely to respond successfully to treatment when the condition is found early, and the damaged cells can be removed. If cancer has a chance to spread to the lymph nodes, it can also metastasize to other areas of the body, causing higher risk levels.
Not all breast cancers are fatal, however. Some men can also suffer from tumours in the breast not caused by cancer, such as gynecomastia, which is an increase in the amount of male breast tissue which leads to a disk-like growth under the nipple and areola.
Gynecomastia is more common among teenage boys and older men due to changes in hormonal balance. In rare cases, gynecomastia can also occur as a result of diseases in the endocrine glands which cause the male body to produce more oestrogen.
Brca2 Inherited Gene Mutations And Cancer Risk
Men who have a BRCA2 inherited gene mutation, and to a lesser degree men who have a BRCA1 inherited gene mutation, have an increased risk of breast cancer .
For example, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is :
- About 50-80 in 1,000 men with a BRCA2 inherited gene mutation
- About 12 in 1,000 men with a BRCA1 inherited gene mutation
- About 1 in 769 men in the general population
Men who have a BRCA1/2 gene mutation also have an increased risk for prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma .
Other inherited gene mutations are under study for a possible link to breast cancer in men .
Learn more about BRCA2 inherited gene mutations and cancer risk in men.
For a summary of research studies on BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutations and cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
BRCA2 inherited gene mutations and genetic testing
While 5-10 percent of breast cancers in women are thought to be due to inherited gene mutations, up to 40 percent of breast cancers in men may be related to BRCA2 inherited gene mutations alone . This means men who get breast cancer are more likely to have an inherited gene mutation than women who get breast cancer.
Your health care provider can recommend a genetic counselor so you can learn more about genetic testing.
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What To Expect At The Breast Clinic
Your visit to the breast clinic may take several hours.
You can take a partner, close friend or relative with you for company or support. Some people prefer to go on their own.
A doctor or specialist nurse will ask you about your symptoms
You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire including questions about any family history of breast problems and any medication youre taking.
You will have an examination
The doctor or nurse will check the breast tissue on both sides. As part of the examination its usual to examine the lymph nodes under your arm and around your neck.
You may need further tests
These will usually include one or more of the following:
- A mammogram
- An ultrasound scan
- A core biopsy of the breast tissue and sometimes lymph nodes
- A fine needle aspiration of the breast tissue and sometimes lymph nodes
Society Needs To Open Its Eyes To Male Breast Cancer
We have an obligation to make society aware that male breast cancer exists. As with all cancers, early diagnosis can save many lives. We must make our fellow doctors aware of the need to train their patients in self-examination, especially our fellow urologists and andrologists. The andrologist is the mans gynaecologist the specialist doctor caring for male sexual and reproductive health and, therefore, also for endocrine problems arising from sex hormones. Our obligation is to take advantage of the andrology consultation to carry out an examination of the mammary glands and teach breast self-examination to men who come to Reproclinic. In this way, we prevent and diagnose the pathology early.
Thanks to Marius Soler and the INVI Association, we are aware of our role in the diagnosis of breast cancer in men and how we can improve the mechanisms of early detection and conscious prevention and, above all, that male breast cancer is a different pathological entity to that of women and therefore deserves its own nosological classification.
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Causes Of Breast Cancer In Teens
Doctors arent entirely sure what causes teenage breast cancer because there are so few cases.
In general, though, its thought that childhood cancers develop because of changes in cells and DNA that occur early in life. These changes can even happen while youre still in the womb.
However, if you introduce these unhealthy behaviors early in life, they can increase your risk for breast cancer when youre older.
Whats The Outlook For Children With Breast Cancer
Most children with breast tumors have fibroadenomas. Often, these disappear on their own. Fibroadenomas arent harmful or dangerous unless they mutate into cancerous tumors which is rare, especially in children.
A child or teen with a fibroadenoma will be watched to ensure it remains harmless. Doctors might do a biopsy of the tissue to ensure its benign.
For children with malignant breast cancer, the outlook can vary.
Just like most other types of cancer, controlling the spread makes a huge difference in the outcome. The goal is always for tumors to be treated or removed without spreading.
In general, the outlook for children with all cancer types is getting steadily better.
As of 2021, theres an 84 percent 5-year survival rate for children diagnosed with any type of cancer.
While there arent statistics on the exact survival rates of children with cancer of the breast, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer in adult women is 90 percent .
The faster children get treatment for cancer, the better the odds will be. Cancer that hasnt spread is always easier to treat and cure.
So if your child has any issues concerning their breasts, ask your doctor about it as soon as you can.
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