Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
Possible symptoms of breast cancer to watch for include:
- A lump or swelling, which is often painless
- Skin dimpling or puckering
- Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
- Discharge from the nipple
Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt.
These changes aren’t always caused by cancer, but if you notice any breast changes, you should see a health care professional as soon as possible.
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.
Burstein HJ, Harris JR, Morrow M. Ch. 79 – Malignant tumors of the breast. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’sCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015.
Morrow M. Chapter 3: Physical Exam of the Breast. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health 2014.
Wolff AC, Domchek SM, Davidson NE et al. Ch 91 – Cancer of the Breast. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloffs Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier: 2014.
Last Revised: April 27, 2018
When To Call A Doctor
- A painless lump in your breast or armpit.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Changes in the skin of the breast, such as a dimple or skin that looks like an orange peel.
- A change in the nipple, such as scaling of the skin, a nipple that turns in, or discharge or bleeding.
- A change in the color or feel of the skin around the nipple.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, be sure to follow your doctorâs instructions about calling when you have problems, new symptoms, or symptoms that get worse.
Who Should Be Tested For Brca
While BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations may increase your odds of developing breast cancer, your odds of having either mutation are pretty small. An estimated 0.25% of the general population carries a mutated BRCA gene, or about one out of every 400 people.
For some people, though, the chances of having a BRCA gene mutation are much higher. Genes are inherited, which is why knowing your family history is important when determining breast cancer risks. If one of your parents has a BRCA mutation, you have a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene.
Odds can also vary depending on a persons ethnicity. For example, people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a 2.5% chance of inheriting a BRCA mutation, or about 10 times the rate of the general population.
Because the overall odds are so low, most experts recommend that only people with a heightened risk get tested for BRCA mutations. Likewise, insurance companies often only cover genetic counseling and testing for individuals who are at high risk. A person could be considered at high risk for BRCA mutations if they have a family history of:
There are also other gene mutations besides BRCA that could increase the risk of breast cancer. The most prominent of these is PALB2. As with BRCA1 and BRCA2, testing for other genetic mutations is recommended only if you are at high risk for that particular gene.
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When To Seek Further Consultation For Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer among men is a serious diagnosis because it progresses quickly and is often found late in its progression. The risk of mortality increases significantly if cancer progresses beyond the breast tissue. Look out for:
- Nipple discharge of blood, clear fluid, or milky fluid
- Skin changes over the nipple, areola, or breast
These symptoms should be taken seriously and evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible after detection.
It should also be noted that breast cancer in men is rare. The average man Ã¢â¬â without prolonged estrogen syndrome or Klinefelter’s syndrome Ã¢â¬â has a relatively low risk of developing breast cancer. Breast masses in this setting are likely to be benign, but because of the danger of breast cancer, they should be evaluated to ensure that they are not cancerous.
Tests That May Be Done
For men, breast cancer is most often found because you have found a lump or other change in your breast.
The doctor asks you questions about your health and does a physical exam. A breast exam is done to look for changes in the nipples or the skin of your breasts. The doctor also checks the lymph nodes under your arm and above your collarbone. Swollen or hard lymph nodes might mean breast cancer has spread.
If signs are pointing to breast cancer, more tests will be done. Here are some of the tests you may need:
Mammogram: Mammograms are x-rays that are mostly used to find breast cancer early in women. But for men, a mammogram may be done to look more closely at the breast problem you might have.
MRI scan: MRIs use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to take pictures. MRIs can be used to learn more about the size of the cancer and look for other tumors in the breast.
Breast ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved around on your skin. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off tissues. The echoes are made into a picture that you can see on a computer screen. Ultrasound can help the doctor see if a lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a tumor that could be cancer.
Nipple discharge exam: If you have fluid coming from your nipple, some of it may be sent to a lab. There, it will be checked to see if there are cancer cells in it.
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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.
- If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
- If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
- If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
- If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
- If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.
How Common Is Breast Cancer In Men And How Can You Tell If Youre At Risk
Did you know that men can also get breast cancer? Learn the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men, how they compare to womens symptoms and how to know if youre at a higher risk.
Can men get breast cancer? Sadly, the answer is yesmen can also develop breast cancer. Although breast cancer is far less common in men, it can be a life-threatening condition. No matter what sex you are, you should be aware of breast cancer signs and symptoms if they arise.
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More Contagious Offshoot Of Delta Coronavirus Variant Found In Uk
The scientists are closely watching a new mutation of the Delta variant by name AY.4.2. As per reports, the scientists of INSACOG said that it has also been found in India in very low numbers.
The new variant has been declared as a Variant Under Investigation in the UK. And, the scientists say that the new variant may be more transmissible than the Delta strain.
The designation was made on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta, the UK health security agency said.
More evidence is needed to know whether this is due to changes in the virus behaviour or to epidemiological conditions, the UK health security agency said.
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How Is Breast Cancer Treated
- Surgery is the most common treatment of breast cancer in men. Surgery may be used to remove your breast tissue. You may also need to have one or more lymph nodes removed. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about surgery for breast cancer in men.
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-ray beams to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy medicines are used to kill cancer cells. You may receive one medicine or a combination of medicines.
- Targeted therapy is medicine that finds markers on some cancer cells and kills the cells.
- Hormone medicine may be used if the cancer is sensitive to hormones.
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Can Men Get Breast Cancer
It may come as a surprise to learn that men can develop breast cancer. Though it is uncommon, breast cancer does occur in men. In Australia, fewer than 1% of breast cancer cases each year are in men.
Men, like women, have breast tissue. Although women have a lot more breast tissue than men and are more likely to develop breast cancer, cancer can also develop in male breast tissue.
Around 200 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Australia, and the majority of these men will be diagnosed after the age of 50. With an aging population, it is likely that the number of men diagnosed with breast cancer will continue to increase.
How To Check Yourself For Breast Cancer At Home
Lumps, dimpling and more: What to look for during a breast self-exam, plus how often you should check.
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women. Knowing how to check yourself for it can aid in early detection.
About one in eight women in the US will develop breast cancer during her lifetime and aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Although death rates from breast cancer have thankfully declined over the last several years, its still important to check yourself for breast cancer.
Because even in a world with high-tech doctors offices and plenty of ways to talk to a doctor online, taking care of yourself starts with you. By setting aside just five minutes every month to do a self exam, you can increase the likelihood of early detection if you do have cancer. The earlier you detect cancer, the earlier a doctor can treat it. And when it comes to breast cancer, early treatment is the key to a good prognosis.
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Men Are More Likely To Be Diagnosed With A Later Stage Cancer
Breast cancer can be symptomless in the early stages yet the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosiswhich is why women are encouraged to get routine mammograms and perform regular self-exams at home. However, cancers that can be felt or seen from the outside have often progressed more than those that can be detected by a mammogram which means more men are diagnosed at later stages of the disease when it can be harder to treat, Dr. OHea says.
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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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Im A Man Whats My Risk For Breast Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, about one in every 833 men will develop breast cancer. Thats far less than the lifetime risk for women. However, each year, about 2,620 men will receive a breast cancer diagnosis and 520 will die of the disease. Similar to the statistics for breast cancer in women, black men have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than white men.
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.
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What Increases My Risk For Breast Cancer
- Age 60 years or older
- Genes such as BRCA2, BRCA1, or mutations in other genes
- Klinefelter syndrome
- Exposure to radiation, such as from cancer treatment in your chest
- Family history of breast cancer
- Large amounts of high-fat foods
- Overweight or obesity, or lack of physical activity
- Smoking cigarettes, heavy alcohol use, or liver disease such as cirrhosis
- Certain testicle problems, such as a testicle that did not descend, or surgical removal of one or both testicles
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.
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.
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.
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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Your Body After Surgery
After surgery, there’ll be a straight scar across your chest where your nipple used to be and possibly a dent where the breast tissue was removed.
The scar will be raised and red at first, but it should flatten and fade with time. The area will also be bruised and swollen for a few weeks.
It may be possible to have further surgery at some point to improve the appearance of your breast and create a replacement nipple. Other options include tattooing a new nipple on to your chest.
Talk to your care team about how your chest will look after surgery and what options you have for improving its appearance if necessary.
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.
When youre a man with breast cancer, it can be hard to find people who understand. Thats why theres a space just for men on our online discussion Forum. Its a confidential area where you can share tips and information, and talk about whats on your mind, with other men who really get it.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Symptoms
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer rarely causes breast lumps and may not appear on a mammogram. Inflammatory breast cancer symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, itchy breast that is tender to the touch
- The surface of the breast may take on a ridged or pitted appearance, similar to an orange peel
- Heaviness, burning, or aching in one breast
- One breast is visibly larger than the other
- Inverted nipple
- No mass is felt with a breast self-exam
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm and/or above the collarbone
- Symptoms unresolved after a course of antibiotics
Unlike other breast cancers, inflammatory breast cancer usually does not cause a distinct lump in the breast. Therefore, a breast self-exam, clinical breast exam, or even a mammogram may not detect inflammatory breast cancer. Ultrasounds may also miss inflammatory breast cancer. However, the changes to the surface of the breast caused by inflammatory breast cancer can be seen with the naked eye.
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer can develop rapidly, and the disease can progress quickly. Any sudden changes in the texture or appearance of the breast should be reported to your doctor immediately.
For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, redness, swelling, itchiness and soreness are often signs of a breast infection such as mastitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. If you are not pregnant or nursing and you develop these symptoms, your doctor should test for inflammatory breast cancer.