Diagnosis Of Male Breast Cancer
Doctors use a number of different diagnostic tests to find out whether or not breast cancer is present and, if so, whether it has spread outside the breast. Diagnostic tests are also used to gather more information about the cancer to guide decisions about treatment.
If you have possible symptoms of male breast cancer, your doctor may recommend some combination of the following diagnostic tests:
Each time your doctors remove tissue from your breast or lymph nodes whether as part of the initial biopsy or during surgery for breast cancer they will send it to a lab for testing. The tests will tell whether or not cancer is present and, if so, will provide information about the characteristics of the cancer. All of the test results together make up your pathology report. Your doctors will discuss the results in your pathology report with you. The information in the report will help you and your doctors decide which treatments are best for you.
In most cases, you can expect the pathology report to classify the breast cancer as one of the following:
Learn more about the information that may be in your pathology report.
If you are a man who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you and your medical team will develop a treatment plan based on the characteristics of the cancer and other factors.
Learn more about the Treatment of Male 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.
Coping With A Diagnosis
Being told you have breast cancer can cause a wide range of emotions. These could be shock, fear, confusion and, in some cases, embarrassment. Feelings of isolation are also common.
Speak to your GP or care team if you’re struggling to come to terms with your diagnosis. They can offer support and advice.
You may also find it useful to talk to other men with the condition.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE
Page last reviewed: 16 May 2019 Next review due: 16 May 2022
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Breast Cancer Now A Mans Illness Too
It came as a shock to men when they learnt about this illness which they never thought could occur in them. Very little is known as to how this condition develops and plaques men but now that we know it exists it becomes inevitable for men to undergo screenings.
Pertaining to the fact that breast cancer is the second-most diagnosed cancer amongst women, but it is least-diagnosed cancer in men. Breast cancer in males diagnosed at an early stage can be cured. As per estimates of American Cancer Society, close to 2,550 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 480 are likely to die due to the aggressiveness of cancer.
Male breast cancer is an extremely rare type of cancer that originates in the breast tissue of men. Till now breast cancer has been associated with woman’s disease, whereas breast cancer in men seems newest in the block and usually older men are at an elevated risk of developing the risk. However, it may occur at any age.
Fluid Discharge From The Nipple
Nipple discharge is when the nipple secretes fluid, including blood. Per a study published in the Journal of Cellular Immunotherapy, nipple discharge is among the three most commonly-reported symptoms of breast cancer in men. Discharge may occur in one or both nipples and may appear bloody, clear, milky, or green-tinged.
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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
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What treatments do I need?
- How will cancer treatment affect my daily life?
- Should I participate in clinical trials?
- What is the outlook of my breast cancer?
- If Im at high risk of breast cancer, should I see a genetic counselor?
- What is the chance of my cancer returning, and what are the signs or symptoms?
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.
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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 .
Family Members With Breast Cancer Or A Breast Cancer Gene
Men who have female relatives with breast cancer have an increased risk of breast cancer, especially if the women are close relatives . The risk also increases if the women were diagnosed at a young age . Men, as well as women, can inherit faulty genes that increase the risk of breast cancer.
Around 2 in 100 breast cancers diagnosed in women are thought to be due directly to an inherited faulty gene . In men, this might be more common. Doctors think that around 5 to 10 out of 100 breast cancers diagnosed in men are due to inherited faulty genes . In men with breast cancer, changes in the BRCA2 faulty gene are more common than BRCA1.
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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.
Diagnosing Male Breast Cancer
Diagnosis male breast cancer starts with providing a complete personal and family medical history, describing your symptoms and being examined by your doctor.
After that, you may have screening with one of a few possible technologies, including a diagnostic mammogram, a breast ultrasound, a magnetic resonance imaging scan and/or possibly a test to study your nipple discharge.
Your doctor may also test your blood chemistry to look for unusual amounts of a substance that might suggest disease.
If your diagnostic tests show you may have cancer, the next step is a biopsy. A variety of different biopsies can involve removing cells through a needle, including fine-needle aspiration or core needle biopsy, or removing the whole lump or part of the suspicious area through surgery.
If cancer is found, additional tests will help your doctor know how quickly it may grow, how likely it is to spread or recur and what treatments may be the most appropriate.
Those would include:
- An estrogen and progesterone receptor test that measure the amount of these receptors in the cancer
- A HER2 test to measure the presence and level of HER2 protein
Men tend to be diagnosed with breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative.
The spread of cancer from breast to lymph nodes and other parts of the body in men appears to be similar to what women experience.
The stage of breast cancer is determined by your care team based on:
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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.
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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Blood In Your Poo Or Pee
Another toilet related one – but blood in your number ones or twos is a reason to book an appointment with your GP.
Blood in your poo is one of the red-flag warning signs of bowel cancer – the second deadliest cancer in the UK.
That combined with a change in your toilet habits – going more often than normal, suffering more constipation, and anything else out of the ordinary for you, should kick you in gear to get checked out.
If you spot blood in your pee, it could be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
Chances are it’s something far less sinister like haemorrhoids or a UTI, but it’s not worth running the risk – get checked.
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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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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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.
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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.
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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Breast Agony Or Bump: Is It Cancer
A sharp torment in your breast, potentially with some delicacy, may make them wonder on the off chance that it could be something genuine. A breast irregularity is frequently the principal thing that ladies and even men see that prods a visit to their primary care physician.
In spite of the fact that breast cancer by and large shows no manifestations in the beginning period, opportune recognition can transform an account of breast cancer into a survivors story.
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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