Risk Factors For Male Breast Cancer
Several factors are known to increase the risk that a man will develop breast cancer. But its important to know that many men who develop breast cancer do not have any of these risk factors.
Factors that can increase a mans breast cancer risk include:
The risk of male breast cancer increases as you age. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States is about 67. But breast cancer can occur in young men, too.
A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if any of his close relatives have had breast cancer, and especially if any male relatives have had the disease.
Men who inherit certain genetic mutations from their mothers or fathers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. A man who inherits a BRCA1 mutation has about a 1% risk of developing breast cancer in his lifetime, compared to a risk of 0.1% for the average man. A man who inherits a BRCA2 mutation has a 7% to 8% risk.
Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also linked to breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand those risks.
You may think of testosterone as a male hormone and estrogen as a female hormone. The truth is, both men and women have different levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Men have less estrogen than women, but all men have some estrogen in their bodies.
Higher levels of estrogen can increase the risk of male breast cancer. Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of:
Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer
Mika, Facty Staff
Breast cancer is a disease most often associated with women. Male breast cancer happens much less frequently than female breast cancer because male breasts do not go through as complex a development stage. There are some milk ducts in men, although they aren’t as complete as those of women. As always, prevention is key: an earlier diagnosis means a better prognosis.
If The Cancer Has Spread Beyond The Breast
Some men are diagnosed with cancer that has already spread. Or the cancer might come back and spread some time after treatment. This is called secondary breast cancer, advanced breast cancer, or metastatic breast cancer.
In this situation your doctor might recommend:
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Proportionally More Men Die Of Breast Cancer Than Women
The mortality rates for breast cancer by stage are about the same in men and women yet nearly 20 per cent of men with breast cancer will die from it, while less than 10 per cent of women will, according to the American Cancer Society. Why the disparity? Women are far more likely to be diagnosed in the earlier stages when treatment is more successful, the organization points out.
How Common Is Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is a rare medical condition, accounting for only about 1% of all breast cancers. Statistics from the American Cancer Society suggest that yearly, about 2,550 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed and that breast cancer causes approximately 480 deaths in men . Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1/10 of 1%, or one in 1,000. Breast cancer incidence rates in men have remained fairly stable over the past 30 years.
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Survival Rates For Breast Cancer In Men
Its important to note that statistics and prognosis information are based on previous patients and past treatments, and the outlook may be even more improved when diagnosed today.
The five-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer overall is 84 percent. This means men with breast cancer are 84 percent as likely to live five years beyond their diagnosis as men in the general population. When the cancer is localized, the five-year survival rate is 96 percent. The 10-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer is 71 percent.
How soon youre diagnosed with breast cancer after it starts growing can affect survival rates. However, men have been found to have overall higher rates of death compared to women, which experts attribute to being diagnosed later.
About Breast Cancer In Men
Breast cancer is often thought of as a condition that only affects women, but men can also develop it.
It’s much less common in men than women, with only around 1 new case of breast cancer diagnosed for every 100,000 men in the UK each year.
The cancer develops in the small amount of breast tissue men have behind their nipples. The most common symptom is a hard, painless lump in one of the breasts.
However, the vast majority of breast lumps are caused by a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged.
Breast cancer in men can also cause nipple problems, such as the nipple turning in on itself or nipple discharge.
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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
Changes In Size And Shape Of Breast
Changed in size and the shape of the breast is a frequent and common indication of the development of breast cancer. Most men don’t seek out help at this stage they often feel embarrassed by the changes in the size or shape of their breast. This may put them off from seeing a doctor and getting a diagnosis. Nothing is more important than getting an early diagnosis, as this significantly improves the prognosis. This is especially true for cancer. Things such as color, shape, and texture can all change, so be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
Living With Male Breast Cancer
The process to diagnose and treat cancer can be long and frustrating. Most treatments are invasive and cause side effects. Medicine help counter these, but effects can be long lasting. You likely will need to make changes to your lifestyle.
After treatment, your cancer may subside. Remission can be brief or permanent. Cancer survivors usually require ongoing care. This can include testing and treatment to monitor and manage their health.
Living with cancer is emotional. You might consider joining a support group. Your doctor also might suggest rehabilitation to help with physical and life changes.
Having a male family member with breast cancer is a trigger for genetic testing and counseling. After receiving your diagnosis, a genetic counselor can help you determine if members of your family should be tested for mutations in the BRCA gene. Abnormalities in the BRCA gene cause forms of breast and ovarian cancer.
The Truth About Male Breast Cancer
Breast cancer was the furthest thing from Aubrey Glencamps mind when he discovered a strange bump on one of his pecs. He was just 33 years old, he didnt have any family history of the disease, he was in good health so he didnt have any of the typical risk factors for the disease. Oh, and then theres the whole business of his gender. Isnt breast cancer a womans disease?
The young father quickly discovered the answer to that when his test results showed that not only did he, as a man, have cancer in his breast tissue but he had stage II HER-2 positive breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease.
I remember leaving work and just sitting in my car trying to process it all, he says. I tried looking up more information on my diagnosis but everything I found was for women. I was desperate for information and yet there was almost nothing about male breast cancer.
Thankfully his story has a happy ending: After Glencamp had a double mastectomy and five rounds of chemotherapy, all his tests show no signs of cancer. However, his story is not unheard ofand many men dont have such a positive outcome, says Brian OHea, MD, chief of Breast Surgery at Stony Brook Medicine and director of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Center in New York.
This is why I want to get my story out there, to help other men recognize theyre not alone and to encourage more research and information for men with breast cancer, Glencamp says.
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Genetic Testing In Men With Or At Risk For 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:
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you have:
- a lump in your breast
- any other worrying symptoms, such as nipple discharge
- a history of breast cancer in members of your family and you’re worried about your chances of getting it
It’s very unlikely you have cancer, but it’s best to get your symptoms checked. Your GP will examine your breast and can refer you for tests and scans for breast cancer if needed.
If you do not have symptoms but have a clear family history of breast cancer, your GP may refer you to a genetic specialist to discuss your risk of getting it.
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What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk
If several members of your family have had breast or ovarian cancer, or one of your family members has a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, share this information with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling. In men, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of breast cancer, high-grade prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
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.
- 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
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What Causes Male Breast Pain
Male breast pain can have a few causes. The most common is gynecomastia, which is breast enlargement due to hormone imbalance. Males naturally have a small amount of estrogen, the so-called female hormone, in their system. This is normal. But sometimes a man may have a decrease in the male hormone, testosterone, or he may have elevated levels of estrogen. This causes a hormone imbalance that can result in . Some medications can also cause gynecomastia, as can , illicit drugs, alcohol, and some medical conditions.
Gynecomastia can occur at different times in a mans life: as an infant, during puberty, and after age 50.
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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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 .
- Certain 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.
Interview 32 Noticed A Lump Near His Nipple He Went To The Doctor As Soon As He Also Noticed
So go right back to the beginning and tell me how you first suspected there might have been a problem?
So, when you very first noticed it, you went so you noticed it on the Monday, and then again on the Thursday? And that was the first time youd noticed that? So you went straight to the doctor?
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History Of Cancer Treatment
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Radiation and chemotherapeutic medications are used to destroy cancer cells, but they can also cause alterations in normal cells, increasing the risk of disease and cancer.
While uncommon, there is a slight increase in secondary cancer among survivors who were treated for cancer.
Radiation therapy to the chest, such as in treatment for lymphoma, for example, is more likely to be associated with breast cancer than radiation to other areas of the body, such as the brain or abdomen.
Cancer treatment that alters hormone levels, such as estrogen therapy for prostate cancer and orchiectomy for testicular cancer, are also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in those assigned male at birth.
What Are The Different Types Of Male Breast Cancer
The most common type of male breast cancer is infiltrating ductal carcinoma, which is also a common type of breast cancer in women. Ductal carcinoma refers to cancers with origins in the ducts of the breast, and the term infiltrating means that the cancer cells have spread beyond the ducts into the surrounding tissue. On the other hand, lobular cancers , common in women, are extremely rare in men since male breast tissue does not normally contain lobules.
Other less common types of cancers of the breast that have been reported in men include ductal carcinoma in situ , cystosarcoma phylloides , and Paget’s disease of the breast . Some other types of breast cancer that occur in men are named for their growth patterns and microscopic appearance of the cancer cells, including papillary carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer , and medullary carcinoma.
About 85% of breast cancers in men have estrogen receptors on their cell membranes. Estrogen receptors on the cell membranes allow estrogen molecules to bind to the cancer cells. Estrogen binding to the cancer cells can stimulate cell growth and multiplication.
The most common clinical sign of breast cancer in men is a firm, usually painless mass located just under the nipple. There may not be other associated symptoms. The average size of breast cancer in men when first discovered is about 2.5 cm in diameter. The cancer may cause skin changes in the area of the nipple. These changes can include
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