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How To Identify Male Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer Is A Disease In Which Malignant Cells Form In The Tissues Of The Breast

How to Identify the Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer| Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center

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:

Lobular carcinoma in situ , which sometimes occurs in women, has not been seen in men.

Look At Your Past Habits

Do you have a past involving the use of steroids for bodybuilding? If so, you may be at a higher risk of developing gynecomastia. The increased amounts of hormones in certain steroids can contribute to the growth of breast tissue in many male users.

If you want to learn more about the differences between gynecomastia and male breast cancer, contact Dr. Rick Silverman today! Call our Newton office at or our Brighton office at .

Types Of Breast Cancer In Cats

Breast cancer in cats comes in several different forms, with mammary adenocarcinoma being the most common.

There are lots of different types of mammary tumors in cats. Feline mammary adenoma is rare, and benign. Sarcomas are similarly rare, although often serious.

But carcinoma is the most common. This type of tumor is locally invasive and spreads rapidly. Overall, its thought that most mammary tumors in cats are malignant- they metastasize to through the lymphatic system and blood vessels to the lymph nodes, chest, and liver.

Fibroepithelial hyperplasia or mammary hypertrophy is not a breast tumor, but a hard swelling of the breast tissue of cats. It occurs a couple of weeks after a season in intact females and will resolve completely after spaying.

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Men Have Breast Tissue

We tend to think of breasts as a female thing, but men do have some breast tissue in their pectoral area and behind their nipples, Dr. OHea says. They dont have as much estrogen as women so the tissue doesnt develop the way it does in women. But it can develop breast cancer in the same way as female breast cancer, he explains. What people often call man boobs are not breast tissue but rather fatty deposits that accumulate in the chest area. Having larger man boobs does not increase your risk of getting breast cancer, he adds.

What Are The Treatments For Male Breast Cancer

Brest Cancer In Men

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.

Also Check: Can You Get Rid Of Breast Cancer

Obesity In Men Increases The Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer

The study has also contributed to global investigations into the causes of male breast cancer through the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project. This project has identified that obesity in men increases the risk of developing breast cancer by around 30%.

In future, these findings could help identify men who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer and lead to new preventive treatments.

Find out the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men.

Early Signs Of Breast Cancer

Pinpointing breast cancer in its earliest stages isnt easy because breast cancer signs and symptoms are different for everyone. Sometimes there is a palpable lump or tenderness. Very often, there is neither. Generally, breast cancer shows no symptoms in the early stage.

However, there are certain changes in the breast that may indicate breast cancer in both men and women.

Whether you are a man or a woman, its important to become familiar with your breasts so you can recognize when changes occur and seek timely treatment. Know the facts and understand your risk factors for the disease, such as genetics and family history, by reviewing these frequently asked questions.

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Many Men Are Too Embarrassed To Talk About Lumps In Their Chest

Another reason men get diagnosed later than women may be due to social stigma concerning breast cancer. Men are often very embarrassed to bring up breast lumps with their doctors or talk about breast cancer with their families, Dr. OHea says. They fear that a breast cancer diagnosis will make them seem less manly which couldnt be further from the truth.

How Is Male Breast Cancer Staged

How to Check for the Signs of Male Breast Cancer | Lorraine

Male breast cancer is staged in the same manner as female breast cancer.

In order to guide treatment and offer some insight into prognosis, breast cancer is staged into five different groups. This staging is done in a limited fashion before surgery, considering the size of the tumor on a mammogram and any evidence of spread to other organs that is found with other tests. It is done again after surgery when the pathologist can look at the entire specimen and lymph nodes to look for signs of cancer. The staging system is very complex. A simplified version is described below. The entire staging system is outlined at the end of this article.

  • Stage 0: These are very rare in men.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ refers to abnormal cells lining a gland in the breast. This is a risk factor for the future development of cancer, but this is not felt to represent a cancer itself.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ refers to abnormal cells lining a duct. Treatment options are similar to patients with Stage I breast cancers.
  • Stage I: early-stage breast cancer where the tumor is less than 2 cm and hasn’t spread beyond the breast.
  • Stage II: early-stage breast cancer in which the tumor is either less than 2 cm across and has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm or the tumor is between 2 and 5 cm , or the tumor is greater than 5 cm and hasn’t spread outside the breast.
  • Stage IV: metastatic breast cancer in which cancer has spread outside the breast to other organs in the body.
  • Read Also: Does Taking Estrogen Cause Cancer

    How Is Breast Cancer In Men Diagnosed

    Your doctor will begin to make a diagnosis by asking about your symptoms, whether you have taken or are currently taking certain medications associated with breast cancer, and whether you have any other known risk factors. A breast exam is also an important part of diagnosis. Your doctor will visually examine and feel your chest/breasts for signs of breast cancer.

    Additional tests are required for diagnosis. Your doctor may order imaging tests such as a mammogram, ultrasound, or a magnetic resonance imaging study of the affected breast. But to make a definitive diagnosis, a biopsy of the breast tissue is necessary. In this procedure, a small piece of breast tissue is removed, usually with a needle . A pathologist will analyze the tissue sample to check for the presence of cancer cells, and, if they are present, their hormone receptor and HER2 status.

    If the biopsy confirms a diagnosis of breast cancer, your doctor will order more tests to see whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast. This is known as staging. It may involve additional imaging tests such as a chest X-ray, positron emission tomography , or a bone scan. In some cases, a sentinel lymph node biopsy is necessary.

    Once your doctor has determined the size and type of tumor and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, he or she will assign the cancer to a stage. Staging helps doctors make a prognosis and design a patient-specific treatment plan.

    What Are The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

    The following early signs and symptoms of breast cancer can happen with other conditions that are not cancer related.

    • New lump in the breast or underarm
    • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
    • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
    • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast
    • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
    • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
    • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
    • Pain in any area of the breast

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    Can Male Breast Cancer Be Prevented Or Avoided

    Men cannot prevent or avoid breast cancer. The American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend breast cancer screening for men. However, men should talk to their doctor if they are at high risk for breast cancer. Their doctor might suggest genetic testing or a mammogram.

    Factors that can increase the risk of male breast cancer include:

    • Risk of cancer increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is between 60 and 70 years old.
    • A family history of breast cancer and/or mutations of the BRCA gene increase risk.
    • High levels of estrogen. This could be a result of genes, certain medicines, or hormone treatments. Men who are overweight or alcoholic also might have more estrogen.
    • Men who have radiation exposure to their chest area could develop breast cancer.
    • This is a benign condition in which a mans breasts are larger than normal. In turn, they have more breast tissue and are at risk of breast cancer.
    • Klinefelter syndrome. Men who have this genetic disorder have two or more X chromosomes, along with a Y chromosome. Klinefelter syndrome is a birth defect. Men who have it can have enlarged breasts, as well as other traits.

    Male Breast Cancer Is Rare But Affects More Men Than You Think

    Tara PowerPoint Male Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer is often thought of as a womans diseaseeven the cancer ribbon is pink!but men can and do get it. Breast cancer is rare in men: It is 100 times more common in women and men make up less than one per cent of all breast cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society but this year about 2,600 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 500 will die from it.

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    Symptoms Of Mammary Cancer

    Breast cancer in cats is usually first characterized by lumps or nodules in the breast tissue. After the cancer has progressed more, you may notice additional symptoms.

    The first sign of mammary cancer in cats is lumps or nodules in the breast tissue. You might be stroking your cat or watching them roll around on the floor, and notice a lump on their underside.

    Often these lumps feel like peas or marbles under the skin, but they arent always as neat as this and can be varying shapes and textures. The lump may ulcerate, leading to blood, wounds or discharge from the undercarriage. The nipples may also swell and discharge.

    Depending on how far the breast cancer has progressed you may notice pain, fever, and inappetence. If the tumor has spread to the chest, you may notice a cough.

    What Else Could It Be

    Several health issues can bring on symptoms that look like signs of breast cancer in men. Some of them are:

    Gynecomastia. This is when your breast tissue gets larger or swells. It’s usually due to a hormonal issue. It can also cause a lump to grow under your nipple.

    Infections. These can lead to painful inflammation or pockets of pus . You may also run a fever.

    Lipoma. This is an oval-shaped lump thatâs made of fat. It rarely brings on other symptoms.

    Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia . This noncancerous breast lesion can feel like a small lump. In some cases, it makes breasts larger.

    Granular cell tumor. Itâs usually benign, and it often shows up as a single, painless lump.

    Joggerâs nipple. If you do a lot of exercise that makes your shirt rub against your chest, it can irritate your nipples and cause pain, redness, or bleeding. Itâs more common when the weatherâs hot and humid.

    Mastitis. This means inflamed breast tissue. It can lead to redness, warmth, pain, and swelling. An infection can cause it.

    Skin rash. These can show up anywhere on your body, including your chest. The affected skin can become tender, red, scaly, or itchy. Just a few of the things that can cause a rash are eczema, yeast infections, and hives.

    Show Sources

    American Cancer Society: âBreast Cancer Signs and Symptoms,â âCan Breast Cancer in Men Be Found Early?â âSigns and Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men.â

    UpToDate: âBreast Cancer in Men.â

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    Genetics And Family History

    A genetic mutation is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. The result is that one or more of the body’s processes may not work in the way they should.

    There are a number of genetic mutations known to increase your risk of developing breast cancer. The most significant mutation identified is known as the BRCA2 mutation. Faulty genes are believed to be the cause of male breast cancer in around 1 or 2 in every 10 cases.

    There’s also evidence that breast cancer can run in families, especially in men who have a first-degree relative who has developed breast cancer, such as a mother or sister.

    Routine testing for the faulty genes that cause breast cancer in men isn’t usually carried out on the NHS, unless specifically requested by a specialist. However, some private clinics may offer gene testing. Tests can be expensive, with prices ranging from around £2,000 to £3,000.

    Treatments For Breast Cancer In Men

    How common is male breast cancer?

    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 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

    Treating Breast Cancer In Men

    Treatment for breast cancer in men largely depends on how far the cancer has spread.

    Most hospitals use multidisciplinary teams to treat men with breast cancer. These are teams of specialists who work together to make decisions about the best way to proceed with your treatment.

    Before visiting hospital to discuss your treatment options, you may find it useful to write a list of questions you’d like to ask the specialist. For example, you could ask about the advantages and disadvantages of particular treatments.

    Recommended Reading: Stage Three Breast Cancer Prognosis

    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.


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