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.
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.
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 dont have much lobular tissue. Lobular tissue is where breast milk is made.
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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.
The Breast Cancer Centers At Ctca
At the Breast Cancer Centers at each of our CTCA® hospitals, located across the nation, our cancer experts are devoted to a single missiontreating breast cancer patients with compassion and precision. Each patients care team is led by a medical oncologist and coordinated by a registered oncology nurse, who helps track the various appointments, follow up on tests and answer questions that come up along the way. Your care team also may include a breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, radiologist, pathologist and a plastic/reconstructive surgeon with advanced training in helping patients restore function and appearance. Fertility preservation and genetic testing are also available for qualifying patients who need them.
Our pathologists and oncologists are experienced and trained in tools designed to diagnose, stage and treat different types of breast cancer, from early-stage ductal carcinoma in situ to complex diseases such as triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancer. As part of our patient-centered care model, which is designed to help you keep strong during treatment, your multidisciplinary care team may recommend various evidence-informed supportive therapies, such as naturopathic support, psychosocial support, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy and pain management. The entire team works together with a whole-person focus, which is at the heart of our centers dedication to personalized and comprehensive care.
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Can Men Get Breast Cancer
Many people dont know that men can get breast cancer because they dont think of men as having breasts. But men do have a small amount of breast tissue.
Breast cancer in men is cancer that starts in this small amount of breast tissue.
Breast cancer in men is very rare. Around 370 men are diagnosed each year in the UK.
Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, although younger men can be affected.
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 Do Lumps In My Breast Mean
Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.
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Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer
The first sign of male breast cancer is usually a lump in the breast that feels like a hard knot or pebble. Since most men arent regularly checking their breasts and arent aware of the early warning signs of male breast cancer, it may take some time for them to notice a lump or other breast change and bring it to the attention of their doctor. While the majority of lumps are not breast cancer, its important to have any unusual changes to your breast, chest, or armpit checked by a doctor as soon as you can. When breast cancer is found early, its usually easier to treat successfully.
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men to watch out for include:
change in the size or shape of the breast
These changes can also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancer. Some benign breast conditions in men are:
Gynecomastia is an increase in the amount of breast tissue in males. It can involve swelling or overall enlargement of one or both breasts. Often, the first symptom is a lump of fatty tissue under the nipple that may be tender or sore.
Men can develop other types of abnormal lumps or masses of tissue in the breast that are not cancer and do not spread outside the breast. Some examples are lipomas , cysts , hematomas , and fat necrosis .
Again, be sure to see your doctor right away if you notice any abnormal change in the breast, chest, or armpit.
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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
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 dont 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.
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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.
How Is Male Breast Cancer Treated
Treatment for male breast cancer is based on the stage of the cancer and other things, such as your overall health. The main treatment is:
- Usually the doctor removes the breast and lymph nodes under the arm. Sometimes the doctor removes just the part of the breast that contains the cancer .
Other treatment options may include:
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How Is It Diagnosed
Most male breast cancer is diagnosed with a biopsy. A lump or thick area in the breast or armpit may first be checked with a mammogram or an ultrasound. If either of these tests show signs of cancer, a biopsy will likely be done to see if there is cancer.
Cancer cells from the biopsy are tested to find out more about the cancer. For example, tests can show if the cancer cells have receptors for hormones such as estrogen or progesterone. This helps your doctor know which medicines will work best for you.
What Is The Best Treatment For Male Breast Cancer
Your doctor will to remove your breast cancer tumor, and you may need more care after that. The best combination of treatments for male breast cancer depends on the type and stage and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. You will work with your cancer care team, including cancer surgeons, oncologists , and your primary care doctor before deciding which treatment options are best for you.
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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.
Treatment For Breast Cancer In Men
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the health professional looking after your care will discuss treatment options with you.
The treatment will depend 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 medication is used to kill cancer cells
- medicines that help stop breast cancer growing
Treatment with surgery is often followed by one or more of the other treatments. This can help stop the cancer coming back in the future.
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Targeted Cancer Drug Therapy
Your doctor will check your cancer cells for proteins called HER2 receptors. But these are rarely found in male breast cancer. If your cancer cells have a lot of these receptors, your doctor will prescribe a targeted drug treatment for you.
The most common targeted drug for breast cancer is trastuzumab .
Treatment Of Locally Advanced Disease
The treatment of male patients with T3/T4 or inflammatory breast cancer is initiated with neo-adjuvant CT and surgery is performed on those whose tumor becomes amenable to operation. Subsequently, adjuvant tamoxifen is recommended for HR positive cases. It should also be kept in mind that adjuvant hormonal therapy may be an alternative to CT in most cases .
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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
When Should You Call The Doctor
Pick up the phone right away if you notice any of the signs above. If breast cancer is causing your symptoms, tests can help your doctor spot it early, improving your chances for successful treatment. Guys with the disease tend to get diagnosed when their cancer is in a later stage, which can make it harder to treat.
So, if you notice a lump in your breast or any other symptoms that concern you, donât wait for them to go away on their own. Call your doctor, even if the possibility of having breast cancer makes you uncomfortable. Thereâs nothing to feel embarrassed about.
Let your doctor know if you have close relatives with breast cancer. It runs in families, so that could increase your odds.
But remember, having one or more of the symptoms doesnât necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Itâs not common for guys to get this disease, especially if youâre under 60. Overall, less than 1% of all breast cancer cases happen in men.
Other conditions could be to blame for your symptoms. Your doctor can find out for sure.
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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.