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How Can Guys Get Breast Cancer

Most Common Forms Of Male Breast Cancer

Can men get breast cancer?

There are different kinds of breast cancer. Most breast cancers are carcinomas, which start in various cells throughout the breast.

The most common kind of breast cancer are adenocarcinomas, which affect the ducts , and milk-producing glands of the breast. There are also less-common breast cancers like sarcomas, Pagets disease, phyllodes, and angiosarcomas.

In situ breast cancers are located in one spot and have not spread to other parts of the body. Here are some of the breast cancers men may be diagnosed with:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: These kinds of cancers affect the milk ducts, but do not spread to surrounding tissue. Otherwise known as DCIS, these cancers account for about 1 in 10 cases of male breast cancer, and they are often curable with surgery.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ: These forms of cancer, also known as LCIS or lobular neoplasia, affect the lobule glands of the breast. LCIS is rarely seen in men, but it can be common among women.
  • Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: The most common kind of breast cancer, IDC starts in a milk duct and grows through to the tissue of the breast. The cancer can also metastasize to other parts of the body through the lymph system. Around 8 out of 10 male breast cancers are IDCs.
  • Infiltrating lobular carcinoma: ILC starts in the lobule glands and spreads to the other parts of the body and breasts. ILC is rare in men, but accounts for around 2% of male breast cancers.

How Is Breast Cancer Treated

As in women, treatment for breast cancer in men 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

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.

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Genetic Counseling And Testing

If you have a strong family history of breast cancer , ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and/or prostate cancer that might be caused by a BRCA mutation, and/or if someone else in your family is known to have a BRCA mutation, you might want to consider genetic testing to determine if you have inherited a mutated BRCA gene. If the test detects a mutated BRCA gene, you and your health care team can watch carefully for early signs of cancer. Other cancers including prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and testicular cancer have been linked to BRCA mutations. .

Because breast cancer in men can be caused by BRCA mutations, men with breast cancer should also consider genetic testing.

If you are thinking about having genetic testing, it is strongly recommended that you talk first to a professional qualified to explain and interpret these tests, such as a genetic counselor or a nurse or doctor with special training. It is very important to understand what genetic testing can and can’t tell you, and to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of testing before having it done. Test results are not always clear cut, and even if they are, it’s not always clear what should be done about them. There may be other concerns as well, such as what the results might mean for other family members.

Genetic Testing In Men With Or At Risk For Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer

Breast cancer in men is sometimes caused by inherited mutations in certain genes. You can inherit gene mutations from your mother or your father and can potentially pass them on to your sons and daughters.

The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1% for men who have a BRCA1 gene mutation and 7-8% for men who have a BRCA2 gene mutation, compared to a risk of 0.1% for men in the general population. Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also associated with breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand the specific risks from those genes.

According to guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, all men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should be offered genetic counseling and genetic testing for genetic mutations linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

Men who havent been diagnosed with breast cancer but who have a family history of breast, ovarian, pancreatic, or prostate cancer, or who have a family member who was found to have an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of cancer, should also consider getting genetic testing.

Here are some of the reasons its useful for you and your medical team to know if you have a gene mutation linked to a higher risk of breast cancer:

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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.

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Prevention Of Breast Cancer

Because we dont know exactly what causes breast cancer, we cant pinpoint an exact way to prevent it. However, losing weight and maintaining a regular weight is a good place to start. Restricting alcohol to the recommended amount is also one way to control estrogen levels in the body

Early detection is also important. If you feel a lump, do not ignore it. Seek medical attention as early as possible.

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How Can Men Develop Breast Cancer

Men develop breast cancer the same way as women. Even though they don’t have breasts like women, they do have a small amount of breast tissue, including milk-producing lobules, ducts that carry milk to the nipples, and fat. The ‘breasts’ of an adult man are actually similar to the breasts of a girl before puberty. In girls, this tissue grows and develops. It doesn’t develop in men, but it is still breast tissue and can develop breast cancer.

Most male breast cancer starts in the lining a milk duct . Other types of male breast cancer are rare, but can include:

  • Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands , this is rare because men have few lobules in their breast tissue
  • Other rare types such as Paget’s disease of the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer, which are even rarer

Most cancers in men are invasive, which means the cancer cells will not stay localized to the duct or lobule where they originate. In most cases, they eventually start to grow into the surrounding tissue. After the cells grow through the duct, the cancer cells can continue to grow and cause a noticeable lump or thickening in your breast. If not diagnosed quickly, the breast cancer cells can also spread to lymph nodes and other parts of your body.

Lump Or Mass In The Breast

Can men get breast cancer?

A painless mass in the breast could indicate breast cancer. While it is possible for breast cancer to hurt, most people notice a mass that causes no pain. Additionally, breast cancer lumps can come in many sizes and shapes, but they are usually hard and do not move around in the breast tissue.

A mass is more likely to be cancer if a person finds it in one breast. However, it is possible to develop the disease in both breasts. Any breast lump warrants a doctors visit.

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Causes Of Breast Cancer In Men

The exact cause of breast cancer in men is not known, but there are some things that increase your risk of getting it.

These include:

  • genes and family history inheriting faulty versions of genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2 increases your risk of breast cancer
  • conditions that can increase the level of oestrogen in the body including obesity, Klinefelter syndrome and scarring of the liver
  • previous radiotherapy to the chest area

It’s not certain that you can do anything to reduce your risk, but eating a balanced diet, losing weight if you’re overweight and not drinking too much alcohol may help.

Page last reviewed: 18 March 2020 Next review due: 18 March 2023

Check Yourself For Male Breast Cancer

How to Check Yourself for Male Breast Cancer Male Breast Self-Exam

1. Check each breast one at a time.

2. Use your right hand fingers to check

your left breast, and your left hand

fingers to check your right breast.

3. With your fingers flat against the

breast press firmly in small, clockwise circles.

4. Start at the outermost top edge of your breast

and spiral towards the nipple.

5. Feel for hard lumps or bumps in your breast.

6. Be certain to cover all parts of your breast.

7. Gently squeeze both nipples and look for any discharge.

8. Look carefully for changes in the size, shape,

and contour of each breast, e.g., puckering,

dimpling, or changes in skin texture.When is the best time to perform the MBSE?

During or right after a warm shower or bath

Warm, soapy water relaxes and smoothes the skin,

making the MBSE easier to perform

Remember to do the MBSE once a month

What are the symptoms?

A hard, painless lump in the breast tissue

Pain in the breast

Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin

Discharge from the nipple

However, remember that most breast lumps in men are due to gynecomastia and not cancer.


1. Are you between the ages of 10 and 25 and have swelling under the nipple? Hormone changes of adolescence may bring about GYNECOMASTIA, benign swelling of the male breast. Gynecomastia is usually benign and lasts for a few months. See your doctor if youre concerned or if the mass keeps growing.

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Why Does The Myth Exist

Although men can develop breast cancer too, it is still relatively rare and women are at a far greater risk. In fact, the American Cancer Society says, Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. Why is this? Nobody is entirely sure, although a common theory is that simply by having more breast tissue, women have a greater mass in which to develop cancerous cells so are inevitably at higher risk. Women also tend to have much higher levels of estrogenA female sex hormone that is primarily produced by the ovaries. Its primary function is to regulate the menstrual cycle and assist in the production of secondary sex characteristics such as breasts. It may even play a role in the production of cancer cells in the breast tissue. which could well be a contributory factor.

Unfortunately, because breast cancer in men is not common, studies into it are also infrequent. Until this area of research develops further it is unlikely that we will get a more accurate answer to why men are less susceptibleThe state or fact of being likely or liable to be influenced or harmed by a particular thing. to breast cancer than women.

Post updated on May 14, 2020.

Men Get Breast Cancer Too

male breast cancer â The NEN â North Edinburgh News

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.

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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

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.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends all men diagnosed with breast cancer have genetic testing for BRCA1/2 mutations .

Your health care provider can recommend a genetic counselor so you can learn more about genetic testing.

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Men With Breast Cancer Usually Have Lumps That Can Be Felt

Lumps and other signs may be caused by male breast cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • 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.

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men

DO MEN GET BREAST CANCER?| Male Breast Cancer & Causes-Dr.Sandeep Nayak| Samrohana | Doctors’ Circle

The most common symptom for men with breast cancer include:

  • lump in the breast that is nearly always painless
  • oozing from the nipple that may be blood stained
  • a nipple that is pulled into the breast
  • swelling of the breast
  • a sore in the skin of the breast
  • lump or swelling under the arm
  • a rash on or around the nipple

If you have any of these symptoms it is important to go to your GP straight away. Finding a cancer early gives the best chance of successful treatment.

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How Is Male Breast Cancer Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your breast tissue, paying close attention to any lumps or abnormalities. Your provider may take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab.

To look for cancer cells in breast tissue, your provider may do a biopsy. Using a thin needle, your provider removes a sample of the breast tissue and sends it to a lab. The lab tests the tissue for cancer cells.

To see pictures of your breast tissue, your provider may order imaging studies. These include:

  • Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of breast tissue.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to see images of soft tissues.
  • MRI: An MRI produces images of breast tissue using a high-powered magnet and radio waves.

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.

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