Causes And Risk Factors
According to the American Cancer Society, most breast cancers are ductal cancers, beginning in the cells that carry milk to the nipple. Lobular cancers, starting in the milk-producing glands, are less common.
BreastCancer.org state some 5 to 10 percent of all female breast cancer cases in the U.S. are hereditary. This means that an abnormal gene is passed on from parent to child, which is often the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
Having abnormal copies of these genes raises the risk of breast, ovarian, and other cancers.
Around 85 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history of the condition. Age, gender, and ethnicity are the biggest risk factors. For women, the risk increases with age, and white women are at a higher risk than women of other races.
The National Cancer Institute reports that the odds of developing breast cancer increase with age. They state that the 10-year risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 227 for a 30-year-old woman and 1 in 26 for a 70-year-old woman.
The most significant increase in these odds occurs during the period between 30 and 50 years, rising from 1 in 227 to 1 in 42.
What Causes Male Breast Cancer
All people have cells in their bodies that body grow and divide. Cancer happens when some of those cells change and grow out of control. These abnormal cells can form a mass, or tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant .
Boys and girls have similar amounts of breast tissue when young. At puberty, girls produce increased amounts of estrogen. This female hormone causes breast tissue to grow. At the same time, boys estrogen levels decrease, so little breast tissue grows.
Men often find they have breast cancer at a late stage. Thats because men have less breast tissue than women, and because many men arent aware of male breast cancer. Most, but not all, cases of male breast cancer include higher than normal estrogen levels.
Genetic Testing In Men With Or At Risk For Breast Cancer
Breast cancer in men is sometimes caused by inherited mutations in certain genes. You can inherit gene mutations from your mother or your father and can potentially pass them on to your sons and daughters.
The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1% for men who have a BRCA1 gene mutation and 7-8% for men who have a BRCA2 gene mutation, compared to a risk of 0.1% for men in the general population. Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also associated with breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand the specific risks from those genes.
According to guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, all men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should be offered genetic counseling and genetic testing for genetic mutations linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.
Men who havent been diagnosed with breast cancer but who have a family history of breast, ovarian, pancreatic, or prostate cancer, or who have a family member who was found to have an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of cancer, should also consider getting genetic testing.
Here are some of the reasons its useful for you and your medical team to know if you have a gene mutation linked to a higher risk of breast cancer:
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What Does Breast Cancer Feel Like
In breast cancer, abnormal genes cause breast cells to grow uncontrollably and not die off as they normally would.
If these cells grow slowly and do not invade other tissues, they cause benign tumors. These lumps are not usually dangerous to health.
When abnormal cells grow more rapidly and begin to invade surrounding tissues, they form cancerous tumors. These lumps pose a serious risk and can spread, creating new tumors throughout the body.
According to BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the United States will experience invasive breast cancer over their lifetime. Researchers estimate that in 2018, over 266,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the U.S. Approximately 40,920 women are expected to die of the disease in 2018 in the U.S.
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in American women, accounting for about 30 percent of new cancer cases in 2017. Men face a much lower risk, and the lifetime risk in the U.S is around 1 in 1,000.
I Found A Breast Lump On Self
I was watching videos on Youtube and came across a video by a breast cancer survivor. In that video, she showed how to conduct a self-breast examination. Curiously, I followed the instructions, and I was surprised to find a lump! For a second, I thought it could just be my imagination, but it was still there the next day. However, I had no pain, discharge, or any other abnormal symptoms.
I had been using the Your Doctors Online application for more than a month at that point, so I logged in and got connected with Dr. Honaker. He calmed me down and took a detailed personal and family history. After I had described what the lump felt like in detail, he told me the likely cause was a fibroadenoma, a noncancerous breast lump. Because I didnt have any symptoms, the lump didnt require treatment.
After the consultation, I finally managed to book an appointment with my GP as well. She further confirmed that it was a fibroadenoma. Your Doctors Online never fails to impress me with their quick and thorough diagnosis. Calla.
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You Cant Face The Stream In The Shower
Does wearing a bra suddenly irritate your nipples? Are your breasts so painful that you have to face away from the stream of water in the shower? Have your breasts become so sensitive that you dont like your partner to touch them anymore? Breasts or nipples that become more sensitive than normal can be a sign of cancer, Dr. Ross says.
Breast sensitivity is often tied to hormone changes, which is why many women experience breast tenderness as part of PMS and its one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. However, some types of breast cancer can affect your hormones, giving you a similar feeling, she explains.
So if your breasts are suddenly way more sensitive than normal and its not around that time of the month and youre not pregnant, give your doctor a call, she says.
What Are The Symptoms
The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are
- A lump or swelling in the breast.
- Redness or flaky skin in the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Nipple discharge.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
These symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. If you have any symptoms or changes, see your doctor right away.
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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.
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.
Causes Of Male Breast Lumps And Other Breast Changes In Males
Breast cancer has traditionally been thought of as an exclusively female cancer, but thanks to the many awareness campaigns surrounding breast cancer, increasing numbers of men are now aware that they too can get breast cancer. This is good news, because early diagnosis greatly improves the prognosis.
Men who notice anything unusual within their breast/chest area are right to take note and see their doctor. However, breast cancer is not the only cause of male breast symptoms by any stretch of the imagination, and the nature of your symptoms can give you some ideas as to what you may be dealing with even before you make that appointment which yes, you should definitely do.
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Breast Cancer Lumps: What Does One Feel Like
Feeling a lump in your breast can be frightening especially if you have had breast cancer. As one MyBCTeam member wrote, Every night when Im in bed, I feel the lumps and get anxious. How could I not?! Although more than 80 percent of breast lumps turn out to be benign , it may be difficult for you to tell whether a lump is a cause for concern.
This guide will help you become more familiar with what normal bumps and variations in your breasts feel like versus lumps that may be cancerous. Tell your health care team immediately if you find a new lump in your breast. If the lump does turn out to be cancerous, early detection through procedures like screening mammograms is key to achieving the best possible outcomes. One MyBCTeam member offered great advice: Trust your instincts and if you have any concerns at all, speak to your doctor and get it checked. Always better to be safe than sorry.
Symptoms Elsewhere In The Body
Sometimes breast cancer cells can spread from the breast to other parts of the body. This is known as secondary breast cancer.
Some symptoms to be aware of include:
- unexpected weight loss and a loss of appetite
- severe or ongoing headaches
Find out more about the symptoms of secondary breast cancer.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Breast Cancer In Men
Doctors will take a complete medical history of the man and perform a physical examination of the breast including the armpits. They will first try to look for the benign causes of the breast lump. To confirm their diagnosis, they order tests that include
- Ultrasonogram of the breast
A biopsy helps doctors reach a definitive diagnosis of breast cancer. It is usually performed after all other tests.
What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast become abnormal and grow out of control. Breast lumps arent always the earliest sign of breast cancer, as outlined below. When cancerous lumps do appear, they usually feel firmer than the other tissue, may move around or may be fixed on the chest wall. Lumps are usually painless, but not always.
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Can You Have Breast Cancer With No Visible Symptoms
Yes. Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer say they didnt notice any symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screenings are so strongly advised.
We recommend that women consider starting annual screening mammograms at age 40. But depending on your risk factors, overall health and personal preferences, you and your doctor can work together to decide whether screenings should begin earlier, later or at different intervals.
Look For Other Breast Changes
A woman can have breast cancer without noticing any changes in breast lumps. As one MyBCTeam member shared, I never felt a lump or had any tenderness in my breasts. In fact, some cases of breast cancer are first detected when the nipples change in appearance, secrete fluids, or become tender, or when the breasts skin becomes dimpled or puckered.
The same member went on to note that other symptoms helped point to a diagnosis of breast cancer: What I did have was a flattening of my nipples. No tenderness or pain just that my nipples didnt get erect anymore and were inverted. And a year before, I had a blood clot in my lung. Found out later that these can both be signs of breast cancer.
Let your doctor know if you experience any other symptoms of breast cancer, such as nipple discharge, skin dimpling, or swelling in the surrounding tissues . According to the Stony Brook Cancer Center, any abnormality in the size, texture, shape, or nipple of just one breast rather than both may be more dangerous than changes affecting both breasts symmetrically.
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Why You Shouldnt Think Twice About Getting A Lump Checked
A womans risk for breast cancer is highest after the age of 50, but even young women can develop breast cancer. Since any lump could potentially be cancerous, its critical that you have any lump you may have felt evaluated by a doctor no matter your age.
While many lumps will end up being benign breast lump disease, many others wont be and we dont want to miss out on diagnosing breast cancer, says Dr. Joshi. Through mammograms and other imaging modalities, breast cancer is very easy to catch and diagnose, and when caught early breast cancer is very, very treatable.
In addition, Dr. Joshi says you shouldnt avoid having a lump checked just because youre worried about having a painful biopsy.
Mammograms and breast ultrasounds are very powerful tools that can help us diagnose even the smallest breast cancers with very high specificity, explains Dr. Joshi. We dont need to biopsy the lump in every case.
Lastly, if youre nervous about going to your doctors office to have a lump checked during COVID-19, dont be. Houston Methodist doctor offices and imaging centers have enhanced safety measures in place and are taking extra precautions to keep you safe during your appointment or mammogram, including:
Risk Factors For Male Breast Cancer
Several factors are known to increase the risk that a man will develop breast cancer. But its important to know that many men who develop breast cancer do not have any of these risk factors.
Factors that can increase a mans breast cancer risk include:
The risk of male breast cancer increases as you age. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States is about 67. But breast cancer can occur in young men, too.
A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if any of his close relatives have had breast cancer, and especially if any male relatives have had the disease.
Men who inherit certain genetic mutations from their mothers or fathers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. A man who inherits a BRCA1 mutation has about a 1% risk of developing breast cancer in his lifetime, compared to a risk of 0.1% for the average man. A man who inherits a BRCA2 mutation has a 7% to 8% risk.
Mutations in the ATM, CHEK2, PALB2, and other genes are also linked to breast cancer in men, but more research is needed to understand those risks.
You may think of testosterone as a male hormone and estrogen as a female hormone. The truth is, both men and women have different levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Men have less estrogen than women, but all men have some estrogen in their bodies.
Higher levels of estrogen can increase the risk of male breast cancer. Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of:
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What Are The Risk Factors
Several factors can increase a mans chance of getting breast cancer. Having risk factors does not mean you will get breast cancer.
- Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are found after age 50.
- Genetic mutations. Inherited changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, increase breast cancer risk.
- Family history of breast cancer. A mans risk for breast cancer is higher if a close family member has had breast cancer.
- Radiation therapy treatment. Men who had radiation therapy to the chest have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Hormone therapy treatment. Drugs containing estrogen , which were used to treat prostate cancer in the past, increase mens breast cancer risk.
- Klinefelter syndrome.Klinefelter syndromeexternal icon is a rare genetic condition in which a male has an extra X chromosome. This can lead to the body making higher levels of estrogen and lower levels of androgens .
- Certain conditions that affect the testicles. Injury to, swelling in, or surgery to remove the testicles can increase breast cancer risk.
- Liver disease. Cirrhosis of the liver can lower androgen levels and raise estrogen levels in men, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
- Overweight and obesity. Older men who are overweight or have obesity have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than men at a normal weight.
Talk to your doctor about your familys history of cancer.
When Bills Wife Noticed A Lump On His Chest He Went To His Gp He Felt Anxious Waiting To Hear
I remember it very vividly of course. It was the weekend of the Mayday holiday and, it wasnt me that found the lump it was my wife who she ran her hand over my chest and found this lump. And I always remember being immediately worried about it, because I hadnt noticed it of course. So the doctor was closed on Monday. And I went into work on Tuesday and phoned the doctor for an appointment, and went from work on that Tuesday to the doctor. And he examined me and did indeed find a lump and he didnt seem too worried about it. And he said he would refer me to the hospital. That was fine. I left, the doctor, I didnt go back to work I dont think that day. Anyway the next day I spoke to a lady who had breast cancer, and asked about her experience and she told me. And eh, she said that things were really good in because they did this one step clinic for people with lumps on their chest. But that- turned out only to be for women, actually. And anyway, in the interim between me going to the hospital and finding out about this lump, I became really worried about it, and I have to say in my mind it was growing all the time. And then more symptoms appeared, because I began to have this real itch in both nipples. And this lump just to the inside of one. And, I went back to the doctor, I saw a different person, who did tell me Id been referred to the surgical clinic at the hospital, and, she told me she thought I might better stay off work, in the interim.
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