Men With Breast Cancer Usually Have Lumps That Can Be Felt
Lumps and other signs may be caused by male breast cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A dimple or puckering in the skin of the breast.
- A nipple turned inward into the breast.
- Fluid from the nipple, especially if it’s bloody.
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola .
- Dimples in the breast that look like the skin of an orange, called peau dorange.
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.
Risk Factors For Male Breast Cancer
The biggest risk factor for male breast cancer is age and most men who are diagnosed are over 60 years old.
Estrogen and Breast Cancer
Estrogen is a hormone that is linked to both male and female breast cancer. All men produce low levels of estrogen but certain health conditions can lead to elevated levels. This can then be linked to breast cancer. If a man is treated for prostate cancer, then they may receive drugs that contain estrogen. Obese men often have higher levels of estrogen, as well as men who have a chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis.
Some genetic conditions are linked with an increased risk of male breast cancer, such as Klinefelters syndrome, where men are born with an extra female chromosome. Also, if you have a family history of breast cancer, then you are more likely to get it, even as a man. The risk is higher if it was a mother or sister, and particularly if they were diagnosed at a younger age, below 40. If a man has had testicular surgery or an inflamed testicle, then there is an increased risk, as well as if the chest area has been exposed to radiation.
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How Is Breast Cancer In Men Treated
The main treatment for male breast cancer is surgery. The most common surgery is a mastectomy. This means removing the breast tissue and the nipple. Sometimes lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and even part of the chest wall muscles under the breast are also removed.
Other treatments that may be used after surgery include:
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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Ii Causes Of Breast Cancer In Male
The same with female, some faults in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are known as the causes of cancer in male. Because these genes can be inherited, so breast cancer can run in families.
About 3 or 4 out of every 20 men develop breast cancer because they inherited faults in these genes from their close relatives. Therefore, there is a possible risk that you may carry these faults if your family has a strong history of breast cancer.
Those who have a family history of breast cancer usually have an abnormally high number of close relatives on one side of family with breast cancer and/or relatives who have suffered from breast cancer at a very young age. A family history can be contributed by different cases of ovarian cancer, male breast cancer, cancer in both breasts or having a certain ethnic or geographical background, such as Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
It is necessary to see your doctor and discuss if you are worried about any cancers in your family.
2. Exposure To Ionizing Radiation
It is proven that one of the causes of cancer in women is radiotherapy treatment to the chest, and there have been some evidence that it may also be the cause of cancer in men. Therefore, it is necessary to contact your personal doctor if you are worried about your previous chest radiotherapy.
3. Hormonal Factors
4. Prostate 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 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.
Inherited Genes That Increase Breast Cancer Risk
Some men inherit abnormal genes from their parents that increase the risk of breast cancer. Mutations in one of several genes, especially a gene called BRCA2, put you at greater risk of developing breast and prostate cancers.
If you have a strong family history of cancer, discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you meet with a genetic counselor in order to consider genetic testing to see if you carry genes that increase your risk of cancer.
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Can Male Breast Cancer Be Cured
Male breast cancer can be treated successfully. 85% of men who are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia will live for five years or more after their breast cancer is first diagnosed.
However, if cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body, it often becomes more difficult to treat. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is called secondary, advanced or metastatic breast cancer. You may also hear it referred to as stage 4 breast cancer.
Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer can be confronting and devastating. While there is currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer, it is possible control it with treatment sometimes for many years. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer aims to control the growth and spread of the cancer, relieve symptoms and maintain a good quality of life for as long as possible.
NBCF is committed to Zero Deaths from breast cancer for both male and female patients. Learn more about our funded projects investigating different ways to improve breast cancer treatment here.
Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer
Men should be aware of the shape, size, and feel of their breasts. This can help you detect signs of breast cancer early. Symptoms include:
- A lump, or mass, in your breast tissue. This can feel round, like a marble, or flat, like a button. The lump could be sore or painless.
- Changes in the shape or size of your breast.
- A dimple in the skin of your breast.
- An inverted nipple.
- Pain in your nipple, breast, or surrounding area, such as lymph nodes under your arm.
- Red, rough, or itchy skin on your nipple or areola.
- Nipple discharge.
If you have breast cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes, you could find other lumps. These could be on the side of your breast, under your arm, or by your collarbone.
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Where Breast Cancer Starts
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple . Some start in the glands that make breast milk . Men have these ducts and glands, too, even though they aren’t normally functional. There are also types of breast cancer that start in other types of breast cells, but these are less common.
A small number of cancers start in other tissues in the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas and are not really thought of as breast cancers.
Although many types of breast cancer can cause a lump in the breast, not all do. There are other symptoms of breast cancer you should watch for and report to a health care provider.
Its also important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer . Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life threatening. Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care provider to determine whether it is benign or malignant and whether it might impact your future cancer risk.
Diagnosing Breast Cancer In Men
If you have symptoms of breast cancer, such as a hard, painless lump in one of your breasts, your GP will carefully examine you.
During the examination, they’ll also look for other possible signs of male breast cancer, such as swollen lymph nodes .
It’s likely your GP will refer you for further tests if there’s a possibility you may have breast cancer. These tests are described below.
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Treatment Of Breast Cancer In Men
If you are diagnosed with male breast cancer, the treatment that is recommended for you will depend on many different factors, including the type of breast cancer that you have, the extent of cancer spread, your health and personal preferences.
Treatment options for men with breast cancer include:
Male Breast Cancer Symptoms: Do You Have Them
Having one or more of these symptoms doesnt automatically mean you have breast cancerbut its better to be safe than sorry! Any new or unexplained changes in your nipple area, chest, or underarms should be checked out by a doctor.
A lump. This is the most common symptom of male breast cancer. Most of the time, a cancerous male breast cancer lump feels hard, painless, and wont move around when you press on it. There can also be a thickening of the breast tissue or areas under the arm, where there are several lymph nodes.
Nipple issues or skin changes. Any changes to the nipple or skin of the chest area such as puckering, dimpling, or leaking fluid should be checked out ASAP. A red, scaly rash around your nipple, for instance, can be a symptom of Paget disease, a type of breast cancer that affects the skin. A rare cancer called inflammatory breast cancer can make the skin red, warm, and swollen.
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Male Breast Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a solid mass beneath the areola of the breast. The areola is the darkened and pigmented ring around the nipple. It is distinct from the nipple and smaller in men than women.
- Mobile masses: The mass may be freely mobile, meaning that it moves when it is rubbed, without a feeling as though it is “tethered” to the chest “beneath” the lump.
- Fixed masses: The mass may also be fixed although, if it is truly fixed to the chest behind the lump, this is a bad sign for the progression of the disease.
How Is Male Breast Cancer Treated
Treatment for male breast cancer is based on the 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:
- These medicines kill fast-growing cells, including cancer cells and some normal cells.
- Endocrine therapy.
- These medicines block hormones that cause certain cancers to grow. This helps slow or stop cancer growth.
- Radiation therapy.
- This uses high-dose X-rays to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Other treatment options may include or . A may be a good choice.
Your doctor will talk with you about your options and then make a treatment plan.
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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.
How Is Breast Cancer Similar In Both Men And Women
Both men and women may have breast cancer cells in the lymph nodes. The patterns of the spread of cancer are similar. The staging system for male breast cancer is the same as the staging system for female breast cancer. Breast cancer in both men and women are assessed in the same way to determine the prognosis. This includes the size of the lesion and whether or not lymph nodes have cancer cells. These factors affect the choice and outcome of treatment. Overall survival rates are similar in both men and women with breast cancer. Although male breast cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage.
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The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
Lump formations, mostly painless but not always.
Swelling in breast tissues.
Redness and scaling of the breast skin
Discharge from the nipple.
These symptoms do not alone confirm the presence of cancer. But you must get a checkup done if you observe any of these.
Which Men Are More Likely To Get Breast Cancer
It’s rare for a man under age 35 to get breast cancer. Your chance of getting breast cancer goes up with age. Most breast cancers in men happen between ages 60 and 70.
Other things that raise the odds for male breast cancer include:
- Breast cancer in a close female relative
- History of radiation exposure of the chest
- Enlarged breasts because of drug or hormone treatments, some infections, or poisons
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Signs And Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer
The signs of male breast cancer are very similar to those for women. For example, the most common sign is a lump which is usually painless, but not always.
Other symptoms may be:
- Ulcers on the chest or nipple
- Discharge from the nipple
- Rash around nipple
In summary, any changes to the breast, chest or armpit area should be reported to your doctor. Although, most will not be diagnosed as breast cancer, so it is vital that it is caught early to give a person the best chance of recovery.