Should Men At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer Get Screening Mammograms
Men have less breast tissue than women and fewer than 1 percent of men develop breast cancer, so national cancer screening guidelines do not recommend regular screening mammograms for men. However, if a doctor suspects breast cancer, a diagnostic mammogram may be needed to look for malignant tumors. ; ;
However, when a man is determined to be at higher risk for breast cancer, it is recommended that he have an annual clinical breast exam to check for breast changes that could indicate breast cancer.
British Columbia Specific Information
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in British Columbia. Breast cancer can occur in men as well, but it is not as common. Tests and treatments for breast cancer vary from person to person, and are based on individual circumstances. Certain factors such as your age, family history, or a previous breast cancer diagnosis may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. For information about your specific risk factors, speak with your health care provider.
A number of screening methods, including mammograms in women, can help find and diagnose breast cancer. The decision to have a mammogram or use any other screening method may be a difficult decision for some women. While screening for breast cancer is often recommended, it is not mandatory. Speak with your health care provider for information regarding how to get screened, the facts and myths about screening tests, how to maintain your breast health, and to get help making an informed decision.
For more information about breast cancer and breast cancer screening, visit:
If you have questions about breast cancer or medications, speak with your health care provider or call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse or pharmacist. Our nurses are available anytime, every day of the year, and our pharmacists are available every night from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Coping With A Diagnosis
Being told you have breast cancer can cause a wide range of emotions. These could be shock, fear, confusion and, in some cases, embarrassment. Feelings of isolation are also common.
Speak to your GP or care team if you’re struggling to come to terms with your diagnosis. They can offer support and advice.
You may also find it useful to talk to other men with the condition.
Content supplied by the;NHS;and adapted for Ireland by the HSE
Page last reviewed: 16 May 2019 Next review due: 16 May 2022
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Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
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.
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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How Should I Check My Breasts
Take the time to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel through normal regular activities .
You dont need to use a special technique, but ensure you look at and feel your breasts regularly. Make sure this includes all parts of your breast, your armpit and up to your collarbone.
For women of all ages, it is recommended that you be breast aware. Breast awareness is being familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts, so that you can identify any unusual changes .
Should Men Be Breast Aware Too
Breast cancer affects both men and women, because both men and women have breast tissue. Although it is uncommon, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer too. About 1 in 700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Last year alone over 30 Australian men lost their lives to breast cancer. If you are a man, and you notice any new and unusual changes in your breasts, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible so that the changes can be examined by a health professional.
Anyone can get breast cancer. Men and women. Young and old. Breast cancer does not discriminate.
As everyone knows early detection makes all the differenceIve got no doubt that if Anni was diagnosed just 2 months before shed still be here Mark, NBCF Ambassador.
Three points to remember
- Breast awareness is recommended for women of all ages. However, it does not replace having regular mammograms and other screening tests as recommended by your doctor.
- Women and men can be diagnosed with breast cancer. Anybody can. For both men and women, if you notice any new or unusual changes in your breasts, see your doctor without delay.
- Most breast changes are not due to cancer, but it is important to see your doctor to be sure. When in doubt, speak to your doctor.
Together, we can stop breast cancer
Help stop deaths from breast cancer, we cant do it without you.
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Undergoing Medical Screening For Breast Cancer
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 ;
Also Check: When Can Breast Cancer Occur
What Are The Risk Factors
Several factors can increase a mans chance of getting breast cancer. Having risk factors does not mean you will get breast cancer.
- Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are found after age 50.
- Genetic mutations. Inherited changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase breast cancer risk.
- Family history of breast cancer. A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if a close family member has had breast cancer.
- Radiation therapy treatment. Men who had radiation therapy to the chest have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Hormone therapy treatment. Drugs containing estrogen , which were used to treat prostate cancer in the past, increase mens breast cancer risk.
- Klinefelter syndrome.Klinefelter syndromeexternal icon is a rare genetic condition in which a male has an extra X chromosome. This can lead to the body making higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of androgens .
- Conditions that affect the testicles. Injury to, swelling in, or surgery to remove the testicles can increase breast cancer risk.
- Liver disease. Cirrhosis of the liver can lower androgen levels and raise estrogen levels in men, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
- Overweight and obesity. Older men who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than men at a normal weight.
Talk to your doctor about your familys history of cancer.
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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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.
Estrogen And Progesterone Status
Estrogen and progesterone are often thought of as female hormones, but they are also present in men. These hormones can fuel the growth of male breast cancer.
In most men, breast cancer cells have receptors, or proteins, on their surface that attach to estrogen, progesterone, or both. Breast cancers that test positive for these receptors rely on these hormones to grow and are called estrogen-receptor positive or progesterone-receptor positive.
Knowing whether a cancer has estrogen, progesterone, or both receptorsa designation called hormone receptor statushelps the doctor predict whether the cancer might return after treatment. Hormone-receptor negative cancer is more likely to recur, or come back. Your doctor can tailor your treatment to lower this risk.
Hormone therapy can help prevent cancer from returning in people who have cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive, progesterone-receptor positive, or both. Older men often have hormone-receptor positive breast cancer, for reasons that are not completely understood. It may be related to the aging process.
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How Do I Check My Breasts
Everyone is different and our breasts change throughout our lives because of varying hormone levels in our bodies. So if you get into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts as a regular part of your body care youll get to know whats normal for you. Then youll be more confident about noticing any unusual changes and telling your GP about them.
Theres no right or wrong way to check your breasts and many people do it almost without thinking as part of their daily routine. This might be when you are in the bath or shower or when you use body lotion or when you get dressed. Do what suits you best.
If you spot any changes that are unusual for you, see your GP as soon as you can. You can ask to see a woman GP and take a friend or partner with you.
Don’t worry about making a fuss and remember that most breast changes will not be breast cancer. Instead they will turn out to be normal or because of a benign breast condition.
Your GP may be able to reassure you after examining your breasts or might ask you to come back at a different time in your menstrual cycle if youre still having periods. Otherwise you might be referred to a breast clinic for a more detailed examination and assessment.
What To Do If You Find A Lump
Dont panic if you think you feel a lump in your breast. Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign . There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.
Dont hesitate to call your doctor if youve noticed a lump or other breast change that is new and worrisome. This is especially true for changes that last more than one full menstrual cycle or seem to get bigger or more prominent in some way. If you menstruate, you may want to wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change disappears on its own before calling your doctor. The best healthcare provider to call would be one who knows you and has done a breast exam on you before for example, your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or a nurse practitioner who works with your gynecologist or primary care doctor.
Make sure you get answers. Its important that your doctor gives you an explanation of the cause of the lump or other breast change and, if necessary, a plan for monitoring it or treating it. If youre not comfortable with the advice of the first doctor you see, dont hesitate to get a second opinion.
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How To Treat Male Breast Cancer
If you’re diagnosed with male breast cancer, your treatment plan will depend on how far the cancer has spread. Practicing monthly self-breast exams, in addition to receiving a breast examination by your physician, could improve your chances of detecting breast abnormalities early. Early detection is the key to successful treatment.;
Possible treatments for male breast cancer include:;
- Testicular conditions ;
“Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to prevent male breast cancer,” says Nicholas Jones, MD, FACS. “However, you can lower your risks by being active, and limiting your alcohol consumption.”
In addition, avoiding hormonal supplements, such as sexual performance enhancement supplements, may help to prevent male breast cancer. According to a 2019 study, the use of hormonal male enhancement supplements can lead to the higher levels of androgens, which may cause the growth of tumors.;
Checking For Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Its International Womens Day just over a month away, on 8 March. The day can be an excellent chance to spread information about how to check your breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Weve got free resources to help.
Checking your breasts regularly breast awareness is vital to all women because if you find a change in your breast that turns out to be cancer, the sooner its diagnosed the more effective the treatment is likely to be.
We know that lots of women dont check their breasts regularly for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, often because they dont know how to do it.
Checking your breasts is not difficult and if you get into the habit you might have cause to be grateful, as Orla Maguire was when she followed breast checking information from TVs The Only Way is Essex team during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2016.
Remember, most breast changes wont turn out to be breast cancer.
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Can I Rely On Breast Self
Mammography;can detect;tumors;before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but dont panic 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.