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Undergoing Medical Screening For Breast Cancer
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What Are The Stages Of Male Breast Cancer
After diagnosing breast cancer, providers classify the disease using a process called staging. Providers measure the tumor and look at its location. They determine whether the tumor has spread to lymph nodes, surrounding breast tissue or other parts of your body. Lymph nodes are small organs that move fluid through the body and help protect you from illness.
The stages of male breast cancer are:
Stage 0: Cancer cells are only in the ducts. Cancer has not spread to other breast tissue.
Stage I: The tumor is small and hasnt spread to the lymph nodes.
Stage II: One of these is true:
- The tumor is smaller than 20 millimeters and has spread to a few axillary lymph nodes. Axillary nodes are lymph nodes in the armpit.
- The tumor is 20 mm to 50 mm across and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes . Or the tumor is 20 mm to 50 mm and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes .
- The tumor is larger than 50 mm and has not spread to a few axillary lymph nodes.
Stage III: Cancer has spread typically to several lymph nodes. Cancer cells may also be in the chest wall or skin. It has not spread to other areas of the body away from the breast.
Stage IV: Cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body away from the breast. Cancer can spread to all areas of the body, including the lungs, bones, liver or brain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
Because men dont have regular mammogram scans like women, physical signs of breast cancer are often the first indication a man notices. The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
- Breast lump: A thickened area, lump or mass may grow on the breast, behind the nipple or in the armpit.
- Change in appearance: The breast tissue may look larger, puckered, misshapen or sunken. There may be a dimple or several small divots or pits, like the skin of an orange.
- Pain: You may have tenderness, sensitivity or pain in the breast tissue or underarm area. Instead, you may have a painless lump in the breast or armpit.
- Problems with the nipple: Clear fluid or bloody liquid may come out of the nipple. An inverted nipple can be another sign of breast cancer.
- Skin changes: Red, flaky or scaly skin may appear anywhere on the breast or nipple area. You may see ulcers on the skin.
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What Are The Types Of Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in men usually begins in the breast ducts. Ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. Although men have milk ducts and glands that create milk, they dont work like the ducts and milk-producing glands in women.
The types of male breast cancer include:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma: Cancer begins in the breast ducts and spreads to other parts of the breast. Cancer cells may also spread to other areas of the body. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer in people regardless of gender.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma: Cancer begins in the lobules . Lobular breast cancer can also spread to other parts of the body.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ : Cancer cells grow in the lining of the breast ducts. They have not spread to other parts of the breast or the rest of the body. Ductal carcinoma in situ is uncommon in men.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: Usually a type of invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer is very rare in men. The breast tissue is swollen and red. It feels warm to the touch, and the skin may be dimpled, but there is no lump.
- Pagets disease of the nipple: Cancer cells grow in the ducts and spread to the nipple and the area around the nipple. Pagets disease of the nipple is also called Pagets disease of the breast or mammary Paget disease.
Breast Cancer: Both My Husband And I Survived The Disease
Pat and Mark James know they are a lucky couple. Both have survived breast cancer.
Grandmother Patâs diagnosis perhaps is not so unusual as it is the UKâs most common cause of cancer among women.
But what some find âgobsmackingâ is that husband Mark has had it. He is one of 370 men among almost 56,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.
âMany men are oblivious that they can get breast cancer,â said Mark, 79.
âIâd not heard about it before I got it,â said the grandfather from south Wales who, like his wife, wants to raise awareness of the illness.
He urged men to put their âembarrassmentâ to one side and examine their chest for possible abnormalities.
âMost think it is a cancer only women can get and that may be because much of the awareness campaigns are aimed at women â with pink campaigns,â said the former Army reservist.
âBut men need to know they can get it, and die from it, too. It, like in women, needs to be caught early.â
Pat had the âtraumaâ of breast cancer 40 years ago when their two children were small. She had a swift diagnosis, followed by surgery and was able to help Mark through his own ordeal four years ago.
âMen havenât even thought about getting breast cancer,â said Pat, a line dancing teacher who lives in the seaside resort of Porthcawl.
âIt was a shock but it was important to get an early diagnosis.â
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How Breast Cancer Differs For Men
The main difference is that cancer in men tends to present at a later stage, and more aggressive. It has usually gone to their lymph nodes, which is the second station from starting from the chest where we call it localized disease.
And then when it moves from the chest wall or the breast to the armpit, to lymph nodes, when cancer spreads from one place to another, that’s called locally advanced.
So most male patients who present with breast cancer are locally advanced and have moved on from one place. They have jumped to another station and after that, we call it metastatic disease, which means that it spread to other parts of the body.
What Are The Treatments For Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease. Your team of providers will discuss your options with you. Your medical history will help guide what treatment is best for you. Treatments include:
- Surgery: During breast cancer surgery, your provider removes as much of the tumor as possible. You may need a lumpectomy or a mastectomy . Because men have limited breast tissue, mastectomy is more commonly done. You may also need surgery to remove lymph nodes.
- Radiation: Your provider uses targeted radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Radiation for breast cancer usually follows surgery .
- Chemotherapy : Your provider delivers chemotherapy drugs into a vein, usually through an infusion. You might also take oral chemotherapy pills . These medications kill cancer cells and stop them from multiplying. You may receive chemo treatments over several weeks or months.
- Hormone therapy : Your provider prescribes medications that affect your hormones. These drugs may lower levels of estrogen or block the effects of estrogen. Providers usually use hormone therapy to treat women with breast cancer, but it can be an effective treatment for men, too. These medications treat breast cancers that use hormones to grow. Hormone therapy can be given in the form of pills and/or injections.
- Medications: Several medications kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Your provider will discuss these medications with you. These may include medications called targeted therapy.
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Remember Most Chest Lumps In Men Are Not Cancer
It may be human nature to automatically think cancer when a weird bump appears anywhere on your body, but when it comes to breast lumps in men, that is almost never the case, Dr. OHea says. One common cause of bumps is gynecomastia, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a disease where a hormonal imbalance causes male breast tissue to grow, often becoming tender and sore.
Outlook For Breast Cancer In Men
The outlook for breast cancer in men varies depending on how far it has spread by the time it’s diagnosed.
It may be possible to cure breast cancer if it’s found early.
A cure is much less likely if the cancer is found after it has spread beyond the breast. In these cases, treatment can relieve your symptoms and help you live longer.
Speak to your breast care nurse if you’d like to know more about the outlook for your cancer.
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Special Types Of Invasive Breast Carcinoma
There are some special types of breast cancer that are sub-types of invasive carcinoma. They are much less common than the breast cancers named above.
Some of these may have a better or worse prognosis than standard infiltrating ductal carcinoma.
- Adenoid cystic carcinoma
- Low-grade adenosquamous carcinoma
- Medullary carcinoma
- Metaplastic carcinoma
- Micropapillary carcinoma
Breast Cancer: ‘both My Husband And I Survived The Disease’
Pat and Mark James know they are a lucky couple. Both have survived breast cancer.
Grandmother Pat’s diagnosis perhaps is not so unusual as it is the UK’s most common cause of cancer among women.
But what some find “gobsmacking” is that husband Mark has had it. He is one of 370 men among almost 56,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.
“Many men are oblivious that they can get breast cancer,” said Mark, 79.
“I’d not heard about it before I got it,” said the grandfather from south Wales who, like his wife, wants to raise awareness of the illness.
He urged men to put their “embarrassment” to one side and examine their chest for possible abnormalities.
“Most think it is a cancer only women can get and that may be because much of the awareness campaigns are aimed at women – with pink campaigns,” said the former Army reservist.
“But men need to know they can get it, and die from it, too. It, like in women, needs to be caught early.”
Pat had the “trauma” of breast cancer 40 years ago when their two children were small. She had a swift diagnosis, followed by surgery and was able to help Mark through his own ordeal four years ago.
“Men haven’t even thought about getting breast cancer,” said Pat, a line dancing teacher who lives in the seaside resort of Porthcawl.
“It was a shock but it was important to get an early diagnosis.”
“But men simply don’t do that because they are not aware.
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Treatment For Male Breast Cancer Can Be Different
Even though the different types of breast cancer largely are the same in both men and women, the standard treatments are very different, according to a study published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics. The first treatment of choice for a lump in a womans breast is often a lumpectomy, or surgical removal of the lump and surrounding tissue, and radiation. However, this is often not an option for men as they dont have much breast tissue to begin with most men opt for a mastectomy, Dr. OHea says.
These colon cancer signs are easy to miss.
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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What Is Secondary Breast Cancer
Secondary breast cancer is when breast cancer spreads from the breast to other parts of the body, becoming incurable. Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bones, brain, lungs or liver.
While it cannot be cured, there are treatments that can help control certain forms of the disease for some time and relieve symptoms to help people live well for as long as possible.
There are an estimated 35,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK. In around 5% of women, breast cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.
Can I Prevent Male Breast Cancer
You may not be able to prevent breast cancer. But you can lower your risk of developing the disease by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excess alcohol and getting plenty of exercise.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor. You may consider genetic testing to see if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation. These gene changes increase your risk of breast cancer. People with these gene changes should visit their healthcare provider regularly and get frequent cancer screenings.
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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
Fact #: Male Breast Cancer Is Rare But Rates Are Rising
On average, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,670 new cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. If youre a man in the U.S., your average lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1 in 833.
For perspective, about 268,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women each year in the United States. That means that an American male is about 100 times less likely than a woman to develop breast cancer during his lifetime.
Though the overall risk of developing breast cancer as a male is low, rates are rising. Since 1975, the number of men diagnosed with breast cancer yearly in the United States has increased by between 25 and 42%. Doctors arent entirely sure why this is happening, but they note that rates of female breast cancer have also risen over that time period.
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