Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer
A monthly shower exam is an ideal way to check for lumps and swelling. Why not include a quick check of your testicles too? It is best to err on the side of caution.
- Lump or knot in the breast or under the arm
- Swelling in the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin over the breast
- Inverted nipple
- Redness or scaly skin on the nipple or skin covering the breast
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
How Is Male Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your breast tissue, paying close attention to any lumps or abnormalities. Your provider may take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab.
To look for cancer cells in breast tissue, your provider may do a biopsy. Using a thin needle, your provider removes a sample of the breast tissue and sends it to a lab. The lab tests the tissue for cancer cells.
To see pictures of your breast tissue, your provider may order imaging studies. These include:
- Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray of breast tissue.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to see images of soft tissues.
- MRI: An MRI produces images of breast tissue using a high-powered magnet and radio waves.
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.
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Causes Of Breast Cancer: How Did This Happen
When youre told that you have breast cancer, its natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesnt, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cells DNA.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Male Breast Cancer
If you notice any symptoms of breast cancer, call your provider right away. Its essential to see your provider for an evaluation as early as possible. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the prognosis.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Many men dont think breast cancer can happen to them. So they may not recognize signs when they appear. If you think something isnt right with your chest tissue, see your provider for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment can have a significant impact on the long-term prognosis. Be honest with your provider about your symptoms and how long youve had them. If you have any risk factors for male breast cancer, talk to your provider about how you can reduce your risk.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/15/2021.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Male Breast Cancer
Whether you are a higher-risk or average risk for male breast cancer, you can help protect yourself from male breast cancer and several other cancers.
Physical activity. Increasing your physical activity is one of the most important changes that anyone can make. A sedentary lifestyle leads to increased blood sugar levels, weight gain, higher cholesterol, and obesity. It is time to get more active.
150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week:
What Is The Treatment For Breast Cancer In Men
This will depend on the type of cancer and the stage it has reached. Treatment options are very similar to those for women. They are set out in detail in the separate leaflet called Breast Cancer. Options include an operation, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and treatment with medicines such as hormones or therapies which target the cancer cells. Often several of these treatments are needed to get rid of the cancer and to stop it returning.
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Breast Pain In Men: Causes And Treatments
Breast pain in men can have a variety of causes, from muscle strains to a cyst. Some causes might require treatment but are usually harmless.
Most causes of breast pain in men are due to problems in breast tissue. These problems are usually treatable, and some will go away on their own.
This article discusses several causes of breast pain and how to treat them.
Some common conditions that may cause breast pain in men include:
Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer In Men
Your doctor will investigate any new or unusual breast changes using a variety of diagnostic tests. These tests are the same as the ones used to study breast changes in women. They may include:
- Clinical breast examination, and taking a complete personal medical history.
- Mammogram a low level x-ray of the breast. Though mammograms are not recommended for male breast cancer screening in Australia, they can be used to help diagnose breast cancer in men.
- Ultrasound an imaging technique that uses sound waves to look at breast changes. It may help to determine whether a lump found in the breast is a fluid-filled cyst or solid .
- Biopsy your doctor may recommend a biopsy if an abnormality is found during clinical examination and/or imaging tests. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue and a specialist examining the sample under microscope.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor may send you for further tests to help determine the extent of cancer spread in the body. Additional tests will be done to determine the molecular characteristics of the tumour, such the cancers hormone receptor status. These tests will help you and your doctors decide on the best treatment options.
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Can Breast Cancer In Men Be Prevented
Yes, breast cancer is preventable to a great extent. All that is required is that the person is staying healthy, is following a healthy eating pattern, and healthy routine.
Being overweight and obese are two serious health issues that invite multiple health problems. Maintaining a healthy weight is the prime and most important thing. A higher amount of weight leads to an increase in the amount of insulin in the body. High insulin levels in the body are linked to breast cancer.
Avoiding sitting leisurely and performing functional activities is essential. Reports suggest that performing regular physical activities reduce the chances of breast cancer.
Healthy eating habits are a necessity, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes rich in fiber in your diet. Avoid eating processed meat, items with high sugar content, processed food items, and refined and polished grains.
It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol. If one decides to continue drinking, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than one alcoholic drink. One alcohol drink contains one ounce of regular beer, or 5 to 6 ounces of wine, and slightly more than one ounce of hard liquor.
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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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.
What Else Do We Know About How Breast Cancer Differs In Men And Women On A Molecular Level
Another molecular test used to guide breast cancer treatment decisions is a test for the HER2 protein. Twenty percent of female breast cancers have an increased number of copies of HER2, and HER2-positive status indicates that patients are likely to respond to one of several drugs that target the HER2 protein.
However, less is known about HER2 status in relation to male breast cancer, Dr. Gucalp says. The available data are varied. A few studies suggest that HER2 is less common in male breast cancer, but more research is needed.
This summer, MSK experimental pathologist Jorge Reis-Filho published a study in which his team sequenced the tumors of 59 male breast cancer patients. They found that in addition to a lower incidence of HER2-positive status, the two most frequent alterations in female disease in the genes PIK3CA and TP53 are less frequent in men. He also found that men with breast cancer were more likely to have mutations in genes that affect DNA repair including BRCA2.
The most important message is that we should not extrapolate the results of studies we do in female breast cancer to male breast cancer, Dr. Reis-Filho says. When it comes to specific genetic alterations, there are important differences.
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What Is Breast Cancer In Men
All the cells in a body can become cancer, and it can then spread to other parts of the body. To talk specifically about breast cancer today, the first thing that must be accepted is that men can also develop breast cancer.
Men also have breast tissues present in their bodies. When these tissues start to grow uncontrollably, they produce an excessive amount of cells. The cells thus formed result in lump formations, often called a tumor. But the mere presence of swelling does not alone confirm the presence of cancer. The tumors can be malignant or benign .
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.
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But Men Dont Have Breasts Do They
Men do have breast tissue, just like women. The difference is in the amount of tissue they have.
Before puberty, boys and girls have the same amount of breast tissue. Breast tissue is made up of milk-producing glands called lobules, ducts that transport milk to the nipples, and fat.
At puberty, girls ovaries start producing female hormones. These hormones cause the breasts to grow. Boys dont produce the same hormones, so their breasts stay flat. Sometimes a mans breasts can grow because he takes certain hormones or if hes exposed to hormones in the environment.
Men can develop a few different types of breast cancer:
- Ductal carcinoma is an early cancer that starts in the milk ducts.
- Lobular carcinoma starts in the milk-producing glands.
- Paget disease starts in the breast ducts, and then spreads to the nipple.
- Inflammatory breast cancer makes the breast swell up and turn red. Its very
Although breast cancer is rare in men, its important to know if youre at risk. Thats because men arent routinely screened for breast cancer like women are.
Risks for male breast cancer include:
Age: Whether youre a man or a woman, youre more likely to get breast cancer as you get older. The average age for a man to get diagnosed is 68 . However, you can get breast cancer at any age.
Weight gain: Fat tissue releases the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen stimulates breast cancer growth. The more overweight you are, the more of this hormone you produce.
How Is It Diagnosed
Most male breast cancer is diagnosed with a . 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 . This helps your doctor know which medicines will work best for you.
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What Research Is Being Conducted On Male Breast Cancer
MSK is one of the leading centers in a new international effort to study male breast cancer. The first part of this project was focused on retrospective analyses of past patients in order to learn more about the biology of their disease.
Current male breast cancer patients may enroll in a clinical research trial at MSK that will enable investigators to study the disease in more depth. This trial includes an expanded molecular analysis of tumors as well as a greater focus on how different treatments affect quality of life and other health conditions.
Based on the findings from these efforts, Dr. Gucalp and her colleagues plan to eventually develop clinical trials designed specifically for men with breast cancer, as well as to expand current breast cancer trials to include more male patients. MSK already has one drug trial under way that is enrolling a small number of men.
Because there is limited published data about treating male breast cancer, we base most of our treatment recommendations on what we have learned from female breast cancer patients, Dr. Gucalp says. What we are learning now from clinical trials could eventually change the landscape for men with breast cancer.
After Breast Cancer Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Breast Or To Other Parts Of The Body
After breast cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancercells have spread within the breast or to other parts of the body. This process is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. Breast cancer in men is staged the same as it is in women. The spread of cancer from the breast tolymph nodes and other parts of the body appears to be similar in men and women.
The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
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What You Need To Know About Hair Loss
If your condition is not due to a hormonal imbalance, your doctor may recommend treatment that includes topical corticosteroids. Topical corticosteroids may lead to red or puffy face and can reduce your immune systems ability to fight infection. In some cases, fungal infections, such as tinea capitis, can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, you can take antifungal medications to treat it and get a full head of hair again.
Hair loss is a normal part of aging, and there is no need to worry. In fact, it is perfectly normal for most people to lose a bit of hair every day, and it will grow back eventually. Some men and women experience hair loss as they age, while others simply have a genetic predisposition to the problem. If youre experiencing a lack of hair, you may have a weakened immune system, which can lead to hair loss.
For more severe cases of hair loss, a dermatologist may recommend a hair transplant. This procedure involves a surgeon removing plugs of hair from your scalp. It may take several hours and multiple sessions to complete the process. Its an invasive treatment, and may not be the best option for everyone. Your doctor will need to examine your scalp to determine the cause of your condition. In addition to a healthy diet, your doctor may recommend taking supplements of various vitamins and minerals.