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.
Medical Issues That Raise Your Risk
If your chest has been treated with radiation for another type of cancer, you have a greater chance of getting male breast cancer. Your odds also go up if you took estrogen for prostate cancer or have testicular issues like an undescended testicle, surgery to remove a testicle, or you’ve had mumps as an adult.
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.
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Questions To Ask Your Cancer Specialist
A diagnosis of male breast cancer can be overwhelming. Write down a list of questions to help organize your thoughts for when youre ready to talk to your doctor. Questions such as:
- What type of male breast cancer do I have?
- What is the cancer stage?
- Has the cancer spread?
- Will I need additional tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- Are there side effects to the treatment?
- What treatment option do you feel is best for me?
- How long will treatment last?
- Will my daily life be affected?
- Do you have any information I can bring home with me?
Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer In Men
The most common warning sign of breast cancer in men is a painless lump or thickening in the breast or chest area .
However, any change in the breast or nipple can be a warning sign of male breast cancer including :
- Lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast, chest or underarm area
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin of the breast
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge
These may also be signs of a benign breast condition.
Because men tend to have much less breast tissue than women, some of these warning signs may be easier to notice in men than in women.
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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:
- 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
Later Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
If you dont catch the warning signs until the cancer is late-stage, the signs may start to change. For some, the early stages may even have no warning signs at all.
Keep an eye out, though, for things like noticeable veins on the chestsimilar to what youd see when pregnantand painful urination, along with heavy fatigue and unexplained weight loss. You may notice the texture of your skin change, almost feeling like an orange peel, and one breast may grow larger than the other as the tumors grow.
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Coping With Breast Cancer
If your results show you have breast cancer, you may feel a range of emotions such as shock, fear, disbelief, anger, guilt and sadness.
You may find it hard to take in or believe what you are being told.
Try not to keep your feelings to yourself or cope on your own. There are people who can support you, so dont be afraid to ask for help.
Pay Attention To Breast Changes
A lot of men aren’t aware that breast cancer can be a problem for them. As a result, men are less likely to speak up about breast changes and often get diagnosed at a more advanced stage of breast cancer than women. Always see your doctor if you notice anything unusual in the area of your breast.
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What Is The Survival Rate Of Male Breast Cancer
Survival rates for breast cancer depend on many factors, including cancer type and any spread . Cancers that have not yet spread have higher survival rates. Your age and other health conditions also play a role. The good news is that there are many effective treatment options, and they continue to improve. Survival rates are also increasing.
Are There Differences Between Breast Cancer In Men And Women
There are several differences between male and female breast cancers. One of the biggest differences is the stage of the breast cancer diagnosis. Male breast cancer tends to be found at later, more advanced stages. Part of this is due to limited awareness about male breast cancer. Men likely dont check their breast tissue for possible issues as often as women.
Male breast cancer also tends to present with more skin or nipple findings. These may be skin changes, skin dimpling, or nipple discharge. Much of this is due to the smaller amount of male breast tissue. And the breast tissue they do have is closer to the nipple.
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Causes Of Breast Cancer
You may be wondering what causes breast cancer. Like many cancers, generic things such as your age, sex, family history, etc, all play a role. Previous radiation or chemotherapy also increases your risk of developing many types of cancer in the future, and breast cancer is involved in this. Lifestyle factors also influence cancer developing your risk being higher if you smoke, heavily consume alcohol, exercise less than the recommended amount, and eat a diet lacking key nutrients.
However, due to the role hormones play in many types of breast cancer developing, there are a few other key risk factors and causes involved in developing breast cancer.
Not having carried a pregnancy to full term, or never having breastfed, increases your risk of developing breast cancer. So does some hormone replacement therapy, and some forms of oral contraceptives. While these events are no reason to stress about an increased risk of breast cancer, they are useful for your GP to know about to continually monitor your risk of breast cancer as you age.
Family history of breast and ovarian cancer is also closely linked to developing breast cancer. Developing these kinds of cancers usually involve a gene mutation that can be passed through the family lines. You can get tested for this gene mutation if its seen as appropriate by your GP.
Male Breast Cancer Is Sometimes Caused By Inherited Gene Mutations
The genes in cells carry the hereditary information that is received from a persons parents. Hereditary breast cancer makes up about 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some mutated genes related to breast cancer, such as BRCA2, are more common in certain ethnic groups.Men who have a mutated gene related to breast cancer have an increased risk of this disease.
There are tests that can detect mutated genes. These genetic tests are sometimes done for members of families with a high risk of cancer. See the following PDQ summaries for more information:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
Because men dont have regular mammogram scans like women, physical signs of breast cancer are often the first indication a man notices. The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
- Breast lump: A thickened area, lump or mass may grow on the breast, behind the nipple or in the armpit.
- Change in appearance: The breast tissue may look larger, puckered, misshapen or sunken. There may be a dimple or several small divots or pits, like the skin of an orange.
- Pain: You may have tenderness, sensitivity or pain in the breast tissue or underarm area. Instead, you may have a painless lump in the breast or armpit.
- Problems with the nipple: Clear fluid or bloody liquid may come out of the nipple. An inverted nipple can be another sign of breast cancer.
- Skin changes: Red, flaky or scaly skin may appear anywhere on the breast or nipple area. You may see ulcers on the skin.
What Is Male Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is a type of cancer that grows in a mans breast tissue. Although male breasts cant produce milk, they do have fatty tissue, ducts and breast cells. Breast tissue in men is similar to young girls breast tissue before they start puberty. Cancer develops when cells in these tissues grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor.
Treatment for male breast cancer includes chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. The outlook depends on the tumors size and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
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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 Treatment
Male breast cancer treatment decisions consider numerous factors, including cancer’s stage and the patient’s health and treatment preferences.
Treatment may include:
- Surgery. The tumor is surgically removed from the breast.
- Radiation. High energy X-rays are used to kill cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy. Powerful medications are used to kill cancer cells throughout the body.
- Hormone therapy. Stops the growth of cancer cells that rely on specific hormones.
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Paget Disease Of The Nipple
This type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple. It may also spread to the areola . The skin of the nipple usually appears crusted, scaly, and red, with areas of itching, oozing, burning, or bleeding. There may also be an underlying lump in the breast.
Paget disease may be associated with DCIS or with infiltrating ductal carcinoma. It is rare and accounts for about 1-3% of female breast cancers and a higher percentage of male breast cancers.
Support Groups And Resources
Men with breast cancer may feel like they dont have as many resources in comparison to women with breast cancer. But there are many support groups and resources for men. You can look at your local hospital and cancer center as well as many online communities.
Consider starting with these resources:
The Male Breast Cancer Coalition provides support, advocacy, and community for men with breast cancer
Going Beyond the Pink provides educational and supportive resources for individuals and families.
CancerCare offers support groups for men.
BreastCancer.org has many resources and guidelines about breast cancer.
Cancer Support Community offers a range of programs, from educational workshops to support groups.
The American Cancer Societys Cancer Survivors Network is a forum where you can explore and contribute to a range of cancer-related topics.
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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
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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Why Can Men Also Get Breast Cancer
80 percent of breast cancers have their origin in the milk ducts and they are created in both women and men. Up until puberty, the breasts of both sexes are almost identical. Only through the female sex hormones do the milk ducts, the glandular tissue and the connective and fatty tissue begin to grow in girls.
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Types Of Breast Cancer
Doctors determine the types of breast cancers according to which areas they develop and spread.
Breast cancer is a type of carcinoma that originates in the breast tissue and is considered an adenocarcinoma .
Theearliest stage of ductal carcinoma is carcinoma in situ . The term “in situ” refers to the cancer being limited to the milk ducts. This form of breast cancer is also noninvasive, meaning it is unlikely to spread to other body areas. Ductal carcinoma is highly curable and occurs in about 1 in 5 people who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Another type of ductal carcinoma is invasive ductal carcinoma . Considered to be the most common type of breast cancer, IDC affects about 80% of those diagnosed with breast cancer. The word “invasive” refers to cancer spreading beyond the milk ducts where it originated.
Invasive ductal carcinomais divided into subtypes:
Lobular carcinoma, also known as infiltrating lobular carcinoma ,is the second most common invasive cancer affecting about 10% of invasive breast cancers. In this type of cancer, a missing protein means cells have trouble “sticking together.” As a result, this cancer can spread through breast tissue. If ILC spreads to the lymph nodes, it is transmitted to other body parts.
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Development Of Female Breast Tissue
Excess breast tissue or maturation of breast tissue is a notable risk factor for the development of breast cancer in men because the causes of gynecomastia also increase the risk of breast cancer, and as breast tissue increases during the development of gynecomastia, more cells are present. Because there are more cells, there is a higher chance that a single cell will undergo a cancerous change and develop a malignancy. Gynecomastia may be caused by the use of steroids, obesity, or a hormone imbalance.
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.
If genetic testing shows that you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, your doctor will explain what you should do to find cancer early, if you get it.
All men can lower their risk by keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
As a neurosurgeon, Don knew everything in life and in surgery is all risk versus benefit. After discovering his family history of breast cancer, he took responsibility for his own health by getting tested and later having an elective mastectomy.
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