Male Breast Ultrasound: Gynecomastia Versus Breast Cancer
Male breast cancer is very rare, but one condition, gynecomastia, which is the development of abnormally large breasts in men, is quite common. Gynecomastia is usually caused by excessive growth of fibroglandular breast tissue in men in their 60s or as the result of hormonal imbalances.
However, in rare cases, breast cancer can be the cause of gynecomastia so, a full mammographic investigation is always necessary.
In the mammogram below, one can see the increase in the density of the fibroglandular tissues behind the nipple. It appears to be developing in a concentric pattern. The contour of the dense area is concave-outward and interspersed with fat.
There are no well-formed masses and no suspicious microcalcifications. It certainly would appear to be gynecomastia from natural or hormonal causes and not breast cancer.
In the sonogram of the same breast, one notes that the density appears hypoechoic with ill-defined margins. The amount of tissue appears to be thicker than average in a male but the only way to know if anything abnormal is going on in the sonogram would be to compare it with an ultrasound of the other breast to see if the densities are about the same.
What Are Breast Cancer Risk Factors How Do You Get Breast Cancer
Several risk factors are inconclusive , while in other areas, the risk is being even more clearly defined .
The following are risk factors for breast cancer:
Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having any of these doesnt mean you will definitely develop the disease.
Some risk factors cant be avoided, such as family history. You can change other risk factors, such as quitting smoking, if you smoke. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Age. Your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you age. Most invasive breast cancers are found in women over age 55 years.
- Drinking alcohol. Alcohol use disorder raises your risk.
- Having dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue makes mammograms hard to read. It also increases your risk for breast cancer.
- Gender. White women are
While there are risk factors you cant control, following a healthy lifestyle, getting regular screenings, and taking any preventive measures your doctor recommends can help reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.
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Understanding The Stages Of Cancer
There are different types of staging systems for different cancers, but the most common is the numbered cancer stage system, which identifies 5 possible stages:
Stage 0 Cancer cells that are still in the location where they started and have not spread.
Stage 1 Localized cancer that has spread into nearby tissues. It has not yet spread to lymph nodes or other areas.
Stage 2 Cancer has spread to a regional area or into nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
Stage 3 More advanced regional spread than Stage 2.
Stage 4 Cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. This stage is often referred to as metastatic cancer, or a cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
This system gives doctors a common language to describe the size and spread of cancers. It is also helpful when comparing research studies and determining standardized treatment guidelines for hospitals and clinics.
Why staging is important
Identifying the stage of cancer acts as a guidepost for the surgical team and helps identify treatment plans or clinical trial options. If a cancer is localized to one area of the body, then surgery or radiotherapy could be enough to remove it completely. If a cancer has spread, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or biological therapies that circulate throughout the bloodstream are required.
How stages are determined
CT, MRI, PET or nuclear scans
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Cancer Staging
What is cancer staging?
When should cancer staging start?
Tnm System For Breast Cancer
Doctors also group cancers by the letters T, N, or M. Each of those letters tells you something about your cancer.
âTâ stands for tumor, or the lump of cancer found in the breast itself. The higher the number assigned after it, the bigger or wider the mass.
âNâ stands for nodes, as in lymph nodes. These small filters are found throughout the body, and they’re especially dense in and around the breast. They’re meant to catch cancer cells before they travel to other parts of the body. Here, too, a number tells you whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the breast and, if so, how many.
âMâ stands for metastasis. The cancer has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes.
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Who Is A Candidate For Brca Gene Testing
This should be discussed with your health care provider or treatment team as this information is frequently updated. Guidelines for testing may include
- a personal history of breast cancer diagnosis at a young age, bilateral breast cancer, breast and ovarian cancer diagnosis, or a personal history of ovarian cancer
- family history of breast cancer at a young age or ovarian cancer and a personal history of breast cancer
- family member with bilateral breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both breast and ovarian cancer
- relative with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and
- a male relative with breast cancer.
Why Were New Measures Added To The Staging System
The new measures give information on the biology of the tumor that affects prognosis. Adding these measures improved staging.
For example, with breast cancer, a large tumor may have a better prognosis than a small tumor, based on biological measures. In the same way, a small tumor may have a worse prognosis than a large tumor based on these measures.
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What Is Stage Ii
In stage II, cancer cells have spread or have been found in lymph nodes or axillary lymph nodes, located around the armpit near the breastbone. Like stage I, it’s also separated into two groups, Stage IIA and IIB, depending on how large of a tumor is found and where and how much the cancer cells have spread.
“We basically need to know how big and if the tumor or cancer cells have spread to any lymph nodes, this will help us understand how and where to treat the patient,” Cruz said. “But as with any stage, even if it’s spread, I tell my patients to remain calm so we can discuss how to fight against the cancer.”
In stage IIA, if a tumor isn’t found, cancer cells are commonly found in one to three axillary lymph nodes, Cruz said. If there is a tumor, it’s usually not larger than two millimeters and has also spread to the lymph nodes.
In stage IIB, either a tumor or small cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. If it hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, the tumor is usually larger than five millimeters.
What Are Breast Cancer Medical Treatments
Patients with breast cancer have many treatment options. Doctors adjust most treatments specifically to the type of cancer and the staging group. Treatment options undergo frequent adjustments, and your health care provider will have the information on the current standard of care available. Discusss treatment options with a health care team. The following are the basic treatment modalities used in the treatment of breast cancer.
Many women with breast cancer will require surgery. Broadly, the surgical therapies for breast cancer include breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy.
This surgery will only remove part of the breast . The size and location of the tumor determine the extent of the surgery.
In a lumpectomy, surgeons only remove the breast lump and some surrounding tissue. Medical professionals inspect the surrounding tissue for cancer cells. If no cancer cells are found, doctors call this “negative” or “clear margins.” Frequently, patients receive radiation therapy after lumpectomies.
During a mastectomy , all the breast tissue is removed. If immediate reconstruction is considered, surgeons sometimes perform a skin-sparing mastectomy. In this surgery, surgeons remove all the breast tissue, as well, but preserve the overlying skin. A nipple-sparing mastectomy keeps the skin of the breast, as well as the areola and nipple.
Modified radical mastectomy
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What Are The Treatment Options For Stage 3 Breast Cancer
Another way a doctor may describe stage 3 breast cancer is if its operable or inoperable. This will determine further treatments.
If a cancer is operable, this means a doctor believes most or all of the cancer can be removed with surgery.
Inoperable cancer is still treatable with systemic therapy, but surgery isnt the right option because doctors feel they cant remove enough cancerous cells.
Treatment options for stage 3 breast cancer may include:
- Surgery: known as a mastectomy, to remove cancerous tissue and also to remove lymph nodes
- Hormone therapy: to slow or stop the growth of cancerous cells, if hormones are driving their growth
- Chemotherapy: involves taking medications to kill fast-growing cancer cells
- Targeted therapy: uses your genes to attack cancer cells without harming healthy cells
Your doctor may also recommend a combination of two or more treatments.
What Are Breast Cancer Stages
The stage of a cancer describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread.
Your breast cancer may be described as stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4.
An early form of breast cancer called DCIS is sometimes referred to as stage 0 breast cancer.
The stage takes into account:
- The size of the cancer
- Whether the lymph nodes are affected
- If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
The stage of your cancer may not be fully known until after you have had surgery.
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Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
To determine if your symptoms are caused by breast cancer or a benign breast condition, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam in addition to a breast exam. They may also request one or more diagnostic tests to help understand whats causing your symptoms.
Tests that can help diagnose breast cancer include:
- Mammogram. The most common way to see below the surface of your breast is with an imaging test called a mammogram. Many women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms to check for breast cancer. If your doctor suspects you may have a tumor or suspicious spot, they will also request a mammogram. If an abnormal area is seen on your mammogram, your doctor may request additional tests.
- Ultrasound. A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast. An ultrasound can help your doctor distinguish between a solid mass, such as a tumor, and a benign cyst.
Your doctor may also suggest tests such as an MRI or a breast biopsy.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Breast Examination After Treatment For Breast Cancer
The incision line may be thick, raised, red and possibly tender for several months after surgery. Remember to examine the entire incision line.
If there is redness in areas away from the scar, contact your physician. It is not unusual to experience brief discomforts and sensations in the breast or nipple area .
At first, you may not know how to interpret what you feel, but soon you will become familiar with what is now normal for you.
After breast reconstruction
Following breast reconstruction, breast examination for the reconstructed breast is done exactly the same way as for the natural breast. If an implant was used for the reconstruction, press firmly inward at the edges of the implant to feel the ribs beneath. If your own tissue was used for the reconstruction, understand that you may feel some numbness and tightness in your breast. In time, some feeling in your breasts may return.
After radiation therapy
After radiation therapy, you may notice some changes in the breast tissue. The breast may look red or sunburned and may become irritated or inflamed. Once therapy is stopped, the redness will disappear and the breast will become less inflamed or irritated. At times, the skin can become more inflamed for a few days after treatment and then gradually improve after a few weeks. The pores in the skin over the breast also may become larger than usual.
What to do
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Who Gets Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women other than skin cancer. Increasing age is the most common risk factor for developing breast cancer, with 66% of breast cancer patients being diagnosed after the age of 55.
In the US, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, and it’s the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54. Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers occur in women with a clearly defined genetic predisposition for the disease. The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic, meaning there is no definitive gene mutation.
What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer
Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it possibly involves your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.
Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.
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Stages Of Breast Cancer
There are two different staging systems that are used for breast cancer by doctors. One is called the Number System and the other one which is quite commonly used is the TNM Staging System TNM is commonly used to identify the stage of the disease so that the treatment can be initiated accordingly.
For your better understanding of the systems that are used, the number staging system has been explained in a detailed manner below:-
1)Stage 0 breast disease is when the disease is localized to the milk ducts .
2)Stage Ibreast cancer is smaller than 2 cm across and hasn’t spread anywhere including no involvement in the lymph nodes.
3)Stage II breast is one of the following-
- The tumor is less than 2 cm across but has spread to the underarm lymph nodes .
- The tumor is between 2 and 5 cm .
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm .
4) Stage III breastcancer is also called “locally advanced breast cancer.” The tumor is any size with cancerous lymph nodes that adhere to one another or to surrounding tissue . Stage IIIB breast cancer is a tumor of any size that has spread to the skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes .
5)Stage IVbreast cancer is defined as a tumor, regardless of size, that has spread to areas away from the breast, such as bones, lungs, liver, or brain.
Now that we have explained the number staging system have a look at the TNM Staging System as well:-
What Do The Different Stages Of Breast Cancer Mean
Knowing the five stages of breast cancer can be important in understanding a diagnosis and treatment options. Photo: Pexels
US Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced Thursday that shes recovering after a breast cancer diagnosis in February and treatment to combat it.
In a statement, Klobuchar said doctors found signs of cancer at a routine mammogram, and a biopsy then confirmed it to be stage IA breast cancer. Months and procedures later, Klobuchar said there is a low chance of her cancer returning.
The senators revelation has put a national spotlight on the disease that the American Cancer Society says results in more than 200,000 diagnoses each year in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women behind skin cancer. Black women are hit harder than white women, with higher rates of diagnosis and death.
Breast Cancer Stage: What Do They Mean
Stages are numbers used to describe how far a cancer has advanced and where it has spread in the body. Cancer that has not spread beyond your breast is considered local.
Regional cancer has spread into the breast skin, chest structures, and lymph nodes. When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is considered distant since it exists far away from just the breasts.
Your prognosis, or your long-term outcome, relies heavily on what stage your cancer is. Cancer stages are often further broken down into subcategories to provide more specific information.
Staging previously relied only on whether it is invasive or noninvasive, the tumors size, which lymph nodes contained cancer, and where and how far the cancer had spread.
Estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 status all have to do with the specific hormones and/or proteins involved in your cancer. The tumor grade describes what the cancer cells look like.
What Research Is Being Done On Breast Cancer Is It Worthwhile To Participate In A Breast Cancer Clinical Trial
Without research and clinical trials, there would be no progress in our treatment of cancers.
Research can take many forms, including research directly on cancer cells or using animals.
Research that a patient can be involved in is referred to as a clinical trial. In clinical trials, different treatment regimens are compared for side effects and outcomes, including long-term survival. Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.
Whether one should participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision and should be based upon a full understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the trial. One should discuss the trial with a health care team and ask how this trial might be different from the treatment one would usually receive.
Someone should never be forced to participate in a clinical trial or be involved in a trial without full understanding of the trial and a written and signed consent.
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