What This Means For You
If youre a man who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this study may seem disheartening. But it does show that you need to be your own best advocate to make sure that you get the treatments that are best for your unique situation. Based on the study results, undertreatment is likely the reason for much of the survival rate difference between men and women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Its also very important to talk to your doctor right away about any changes in your breasts, including:
- nipple pain
- sores on the nipple and/or areola area
- enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
Because many men dont consider the possibility that they may develop breast cancer, they may wait a year or longer to talk to their doctor after noticing a breast symptom. This means the cancer is diagnosed at a later stage, which also contributes to higher mortality rates for men with breast cancer.
Future research should focus on why and how clinical characteristics, as well as biological features, may have different implications for the survival of male and female patients with breast cancer, the researchers concluded. Additional factors, particularly compliance to treatment, biological attributes, and lifestyle factors , should be assessed to help in developing treatments tailored for men, which would mitigate this sex-based disparity.
For more information, visit the Breastcancer.org pages on Male Breast Cancer.
Should Men At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer Get Screening Mammograms
Men have less breast tissue than women and fewer than 1 percent of men develop breast cancer, so national cancer screening guidelines do not recommend regular screening mammograms for men. However, if a doctor suspects breast cancer, a diagnostic mammogram may be needed to look for malignant tumors.
However, when a man is determined to be at higher risk for breast cancer, it is recommended that he have an annual clinical breast exam to check for breast changes that could indicate breast cancer.
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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Survival Rates For Breast Cancer In Men
Its important to note that statistics and prognosis information are based on previous patients and past treatments, and the outlook may be even more improved when diagnosed today.
The five-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer overall is 84 percent. This means men with breast cancer are 84 percent as likely to live five years beyond their diagnosis as men in the general population. When the cancer is localized, the five-year survival rate is 96 percent. The 10-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer is 71 percent.
How soon youre diagnosed with cancer after it starts growing can affect survival rates. However, men have been found to have overall higher rates of death compared to women, which experts attribute to being diagnosed later.
Mammography And Rates Of Early Detection Over Time
Mammography screening became widely available in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time, diagnoses of early stage breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ , increased greatly . This was likely due to the increased use of mammography screening during this time period .
Among women 50 and older, rates of DCIS increased from 7 cases per 100,000 women in 1980 to 83 cases per 100,000 women in 2008 . From 2012-2016, rates of DCIS declined by about 2 percent per year .
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How Is Male Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Once you have seen your GP , you will be referred to a specialist breast unit. Tests you might have include:
- A mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast.
- An ultrasound, which is a picture of the breast using sound waves.
- A core biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is removed under a local anaesthetic and looked at under the microscope.
Breast Cancer Mortality Rates Worldwide
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in most countries in the world .
Its estimated more than 680,000 breast cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2020 .
Rates of breast cancer mortality vary around the world
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality among women in developing countries .
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer mortality among women in developed countries .
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Multivariate Cox Regression & Kaplan Meier Analysis
Multivariate Cox regression was performed, and the data is shown in . In addition, Kaplan Meier survival probabilities were calculated. In our study, increasing age and tumor size were among the independent factors affecting mortality. Patients who were diagnosed at an older age had reduced survival as well as those whose tumors were larger at diagnosis . These findings are similar to those of previously reported, albeit smaller studies .
Focusing On Men With Breast Cancer
Fewer than 1% of breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in men, noted Alexandra Zimmer, M.D., of the Womens Malignancies Branch in NCIs Center for Cancer Research, who was not involved in the study.
So far, we have been mostly lumping men with breast cancer and women with breast cancer in clinical trials and evaluations, Dr. Zimmer said.
As a result, the treatment of male breast cancer has largely been based on studies involving women with the disease, she continued.
The results of this retrospective study suggest that men with breast cancer deserve dedicated studies that will help us to better understand the biology of the disease in males, Dr. Zimmer said.
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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.
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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Metastatic Breast Cancer At Diagnosis
Most often, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer.
Some people have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed. This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer. In the U.S., 9 percent of men have metastases when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer .
Learn more about metastatic breast cancer.
Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men
Breast cancer can happen to anyone, but with early detection its highly treatable. Like women, men should examine their chest area and nipples for any changes, explains Dr. Cottrell. If you notice any of these signs, you should see your doctor right away.
Signs of breast cancer in men can include:
- A lump in your breast, chest or underarm area, or thickening in your breast tissue
- Dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin on your breast
- Changes to your nipple, including redness, scaling or a rash
- A nipple that begins to turn inward or discharge from the nipple
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Men Can Get Breast Cancer Too
This website is for men with breast cancer, their families and friends and anyone else who would like to know more about breast cancer in men.
It may come as a surprise to know that men can develop breast cancer. While breast cancer is uncommon in men, it’s important for men who find a change in their breasts not to let embarrassment or uncertainty prevent them from seeing their doctor without delay. Early detection and treatment are the best way to survive the disease.
The resource, Understanding breast cancer in men was developed to provide information about breast cancer in men, address gaps in information about the disease and provide specific information to help men deal with their experience.
Many people do not realise that men can develop breast cancer. Both men and women have breast tissue. Men have much less breast tissue than women. Most of the breast tissue in men is located behind the nipple. Breast cancer is uncommon in men, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancers. In 20121, there were 116 men diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia.
More information on the management of early breast cancer for patients, including men, can be found here.
I had quite a few men say to me thats a womans disease and I had to say, no its not, you could get it too.
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:
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Men And Breast Cancer: Statistics
According to the American Cancer Society:
Breast cancer in men is rare less than 1 percent of all breast cancer occurs in men.
About 2,350 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in men in the U.S in 2015.
Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women.
About 440 men in the U.S. died from breast cancer in 2015.
Some people use statistics to figure out their chances of getting cancer. Or they use them to try to figure out their chance of being cured. Because no two people are alike, statistics cant be used to predict what will happen to one person. These statistics describe large groups of people. They dont take into account a person’s own risk factors, such as family history, behaviors, or cancer screenings. If you have questions, talk with your healthcare provider.
Is There A Genetic Link To Male Breast Cancer
The major cause of male breast cancer is genetic predisposition. About 20% of men who develop breast cancer will have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. The same genes that can raise breast cancer risks in women — BRCA1 and BRCA2 — work similarly in men.
Additional risk factors for breast cancer in men include:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Taking estrogen
What Are Causes And Risk Factors Of Male Breast Cancer
As with cancer of the female breast, the cause of cancer of the male breast has not been fully characterized, but both environmental influences and genetic factors likely play a role in its development. The following health risk factors for the development of male breast cancer have been identified.
Exposure to ionizing radiation has been associated with an increased risk of developing male breast cancer. Men who have previously undergone radiation therapy to treat malignancies in the chest area have an increased risk for the development of breast cancer.
Klinefelter’s syndrome is an inherited health condition affecting about one in 1,000 men. A normal man has two sex chromosomes . He inherited the female X chromosome from his mother and the male Y chromosome from his father. Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome have inherited an extra female X chromosome, resulting in an abnormal sex chromosome makeup of XXY rather than the normal male XY. Affected Klinefelter’s patients produce high levels of estrogen and develop enlarged breasts, sparse facial and body hair, small testes, and the inability to produce sperm. Some studies have shown an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer in men with this condition. Their risk for development of breast cancer is markedly increased, up to 50 times that of normal men.
Cirrhosis of the liver
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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What Is The Survival Rate Of Breast Cancer In Men
Survival rates for men are similar to survival rates for women with breast cancer. Men are often diagnosed at a later stage of cancer, however. Only a small percentage of male breast cancer cases are detected while still contained within the duct . According to the American Cancer Society, in 80 to 90 percent of diagnosed cases, the tumor is already invasive — that is, it has broken through the duct walls, entering a more dangerous and potentially life-threatening stage. Men whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes are at high risk for a recurrence, which typically takes place within a couple of years, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease can also metastasize to other parts of the body, in particular the bones, lungs, liver, and brain.
Targeted Cancer Drug Therapy
Your doctor will check your cancer cells for proteins called HER2 receptors. But these are rarely found in male breast cancer. If your cancer cells have a lot of these receptors, your doctor will prescribe a targeted drug treatment for you.
The most common targeted drug for breast cancer is trastuzumab .
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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 that worry you, see your doctor right away.
How Is Breast Cancer Treated In Men
The treatment for male breast cancer is similar to how we treat women with breast cancer. A biopsy is necessary to determine what the mass is, along with particular markers that the pathologist will study under the microscope.
If the mass is diagnosed to be a breast cancer, the patient will see a breast surgeon and as a team determine which approach is most appropriate breast conserving therapy or a mastectomy.
The patient also will see an oncologist to determine if endocrine therapy or chemotherapy or radiation therapy is necessary.
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For More Information See Breast Cancer On The Ncci Website
The National Cancer Control Indicators are a set of indicators across the continuum of cancer care, from Prevention and Screening through to Diagnosis, Treatment, Psychosocial care, Research and Outcomes. The NCCI website allows users to see visual representations of data on each indicator through interactive charts.
What Increases The Risk Of Breast Cancer In Men
- Age. Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, although younger men can be affected.
- High oestrogen levels. High oestrogen levels can increase the risk. High oestrogen can happen with chronic liver damage, obesity and some genetic conditions.
- Obesity. Being very overweight seems to increase the risk of male breast cancer, especially for men over 35 years of age.
- Kleinfelter’s syndrome. This is a rare genetic condition where a man is born with an extra female chromosome. For men who have this syndrome the risk of breast cancer is 20 times greater than the average.
- Radiation. Men who have had repeated and prolonged exposure to radiation can be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. For example, radiotherapy treatment to the chest wall, particularly at a young age.
- Significant family history or genetic link. Men with a significant family history of female breast cancer are also at a higher risk of breast cancer. This includes a mother or sister, particularly if the relative was under the age of 40 when diagnosed. Read more about cancer and genes.
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