Treatment Of Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer treatment depends on the specific type and stage, but in general, “men with breast cancer are not any differently than a post-menopausal woman with breast cancer,” Shah says. Treatment could include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation and/or surgery.
“The main difference in treatment for breast cancer in men is the surgery to remove the tumor is usually a mastectomy,” Brown says, rather than a lumpectomy “Lumpectomy, often used in women, is rarely used in men because of the small size of the male breast.”
After that, treatment is handled on a case-by-case basis, Brown notes, with some men requiring radiation therapy, depending on the stage. Typically, hormone therapy is also used since most male breast cancer cases are hormone-receptor positive. This therapy helps prevent the estrogen and progesterone hormones from attaching to the receptors , which stops the growth of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is also dependent on stage and type.
Prognosis Survival And Prognostic Factors
Despite the decrease in mortality rate in female breast cancers, the mortality rate in MBC remained unchanged since 1975 . The most important prognostic indicator is the stage at diagnosis and lymph node involvement . The overall 5-year survival rate is around 4065% . However, when evaluated according to stage at diagnosis the 5-year survival rate is 75100% for stage 1, 5080% for stage 2, and is decreased to 3060% for stage 3 . Although several studies have stated that the prognosis was worse in MBC than in females, it was determined that there were no differences in the prognosis of the two genders when paired according to age and stage . A large study with more than 335 male patients found that if nodal status is used to compare MBC and FBC, then the prognosis was similar . The less favorable results in male patients are due to the more advanced stage at presentation as well as a higher mean age at presentation leading to more co-morbidity . While estrogen-receptor positive tumors have a better prognosis, no such association has been shown for progesterone . HER2 positivity is a poor prognostic characteristic . It is reported that survival is shorter and prognosis is poor in basal-like and HER2+/ER subtypes in comparison to other groups . A secondary cancer may develop in 912% of MBC cases during follow-up . The incidence rate of bilateral breast cancer in men is low . In the presence of metastatic disease , the median survival is reported as 26.5 months .
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.
Where Breast Cancer Starts
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple . Some start in the glands that make breast milk . Men have these ducts and glands, too, even though they aren’t normally functional. There are also types of breast cancer that start in other types of breast cells, but these are less common.
Although many types of breast cancer can cause a lump in the breast, not all do. There are other symptoms of breast cancer you should watch for and report to a health care provider.
Its also important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer . Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or malignant and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.
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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What Is Yale Medicines Approach To Detecting And Treating Breast Cancer In Men
Our radiologists are uniquely qualified to diagnose even the rarest forms of breast cancer, including male breast cancerearly and accurately. Our radiologists who subspecialize in breast imaging are among the most highly skilled leaders in the field. They are nationally and internationally recognized for their skill in diagnosing breast cancer. Additionally, our radiologists conduct research on 3D mammography and dense breast imaging, which is advancing the field of radiology.
A man with a breast-related complaint will be scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound within a few days, Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says. If a suspicious mass is seen, then a needle biopsy is scheduled soon after. If a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, our intake specialists coordinate all necessary appointments with the patient as soon as possible, so that treatment can begin quickly.
Rare Types Of Breast Cancer That May Be Unfamiliar
Those who have never had cancer or watched a loved one battle cancer often think theres just one type of breast cancer. But the reality is that there are several types, some more common than others. And all these different types present themselves in different ways, spread at different rates, and respond differently to treatment.
Even if you do have some experience with cancer, you may be unfamiliar with some of the more rare kinds of it. Many of the breast cancers in this list are special types, meaning their cells have particular characteristics not found in most breast cancers.
Check out the list below for a better understanding of 10 rare types of breast cancer.
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Causes Of Male Breast Cancer
You might be wondering how men get breast cancer. Both men and women have breast tissue. But because men have low levels of the female hormone estrogen and high levels of the male hormone testosterone, they don’t normally develop larger breasts as women do. Breast tissue has fat as well as glands that produce milk and ducts that carry the milk to the nipples. Most of the time, breast cancer begins in the milk ducts. This is called ductal carcinoma.
Breast cells normally grow and divide in response to estrogen and the more these cells divide, the more chances there are for mistakes to be made when copying their DNA. These DNA mistakes may eventually lead to cancer. If the male and female hormones are unbalanced, that could increase breast cancer risk. But the cause of most male breast cancer is unknown, according to the American Cancer Society.
There are a few things that put men at a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer, according to Shah. For example, gynecomastia, which is the enlargement of male breast tissue, can be caused by liver disease, hormonal imbalance or certain medications. “That’s one of the more common,” Shah says. Other risk factors include aging, family history of breast cancer, obesity, liver disease, radiation exposure, heavy drinking, and certain testicular conditions. African-American men are at higher risk than white men. But as we said earlier, usually the reason for the breast cancer is often unknown.
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 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.
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.
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What Causes Male Breast Cancer
Anyone can get breast cancer. Overall health, family history and genetic factors increase the risk of developing the disease. Risk factors of male breast cancer include:
- Age: Men over 60 are more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Overall health: Men with obesity may have gynecomastia . Gynecomastia increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Estrogen levels: Certain drugs that contain estrogen cause estrogen levels to rise. Cirrhosis can also increase estrogen levels. A genetic disorder called Klinefelter syndrome increases the risk of several health issues, including breast cancer.
- Family history: Men who have a first-degree relative with breast cancer have a higher chance of the disease.
- Genes: Genetic mutations increase the risk of developing breast cancer. These include changes in the BRCA gene . Mutations in these genes also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
- Radiation therapy: Men who had radiation therapy in the chest or torso have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Testicular issues: People who have had surgery to remove their testicles have a higher risk of breast cancer. Testicle injuries also increase the risk.
Key Statistics For Breast Cancer In Men
The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2021 are:
- About 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed
- About 530 men will die from breast cancer
Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among white men than among white women. It is about 70 times less common among Black men than Black women . As in Black women, Black men with breast cancer tend to have a worse prognosis . For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833 .
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2021. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society 2021.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA . Lifetime Risk of Being Diagnosed with Cancer by Site and Race/Ethnicity Males, 18 SEER Areas, 2012-2014SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2014/, based on November 2016 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2017.
Jain S and Gradishar WJ. Chapter 61: Male Breast Cancer. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins 2014.
Last Revised: January 12, 2021
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Where Does Breast Cancer Originate
Ductal cancers, which are the most common and account for 80% of breast cancers, originate in the milk ducts that lead to the nipple.Lobular cancers start to develop in the glands that make milk.Sarcomas and lymphomas, which are less common, start to develop in the other tissues of the breast.At times, breast cancer may not form a lump. Such cancers can be detected by mammograms, which can detect breast cancers at a very early stage even before any symptoms appear.
What Is The Most Common Type Of Breast Cancer In Men
The most common type of breast cancer in men is infiltrating ductal cancer. This is cancer that starts in milk duct and spreads to nearby tissues.
Other less-common types of breast cancer in men include inflammatory carcinoma and Paget disease of the nipple. A type of breast cancer called lobular carcinoma in situ is very rare in men. This is because men don’t have much lobular tissue. Lobular tissue is where breast milk is made.
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Men And Breast Cancer: Statistics
According to the American Cancer Society:
Breast cancer in men is rare less than 1 percent of all breast cancer occurs in men.
About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in men in the U.S in 2015.
Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women.
About 440 men in the U.S. died from breast cancer in 2015.
Some people use statistics to figure out their chances of getting cancer. Or they use them to try to figure out their chance of being cured. Because no two people are alike, statistics cant be used to predict what will happen to one person. These statistics describe large groups of people. They dont take into account a person’s own risk factors, such as family history, behaviors, or cancer screenings. If you have questions, talk with your healthcare provider.