Can Men Get Breast Cancer?

Men get Breast Cancer tooWhen we think of breast cancer we instantly think of woman.  What is not as widely publicized is, men get breast cancer too.

The male breasts have breast tissue and are similar to the breast of a girl before puberty.  Breast tissue grows and forms in girls but it doesn’t in males.

Male breast cancer is cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men.   It is treated in a similar way as female breast cancer.

Breast cancer in men is quite rare and it’s estimated that approximately 1% of men will develop breast cancer.  Even though this percentage is small, the men that are diagnosed are often at the fatal stage.

This is largely due to men not being made aware they can get breast cancer, and not knowing what to look for.

Those most at risk are:

  • Men that have a family history of breast or ovarian cancers
  • History of radiation exposure in the chest area
  • Getting enlarged breasts through drugs or hormone treatments
  • Taking estrogen
  • Diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchitis, a testicular injury, or an un-descended testicle
  • NOTE: The risk factor goes up with aging

Many men are too embarrassed to go to the doctor when they notice a change in their breast and/or chest area resulting in a delay of diagnosis, which enhances the risk of a fatal outcome.   If you are a guy in this situation, remember…

  • The doctor has seen and heard it all before (and is also likely to commend you for having the check-up)
  • Early diagnosis results in a higher survival rate.  For this reason, if you have noticed a change in your chest/breast area, it is far better to go through a little embarrassment, than to put your life at further risk.

What are the Signs/Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men:

  • A painless lump next to the nipple (Most common symptom)

NOTE: A lump in the male breast doesn’t always mean you have cancer.  It could be gynecomastia – A benign (non-cancerous) lump.

  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Change of shape to the nipple
  • Change of look or shape of the breast – This can include dimpling and/or swelling

Male – Self Examination Check

Testing for Male breast cancer is very much the same as what is done for testing a woman for breast cancer. The doctor is likely to…

  • Ask for any history of breast cancer in the family
  • Perform a physical breast examination to check for lumps.  This examination may also include checking other parts of your body for any possible evidence of a spread, such as enlarged lymph nodes or an enlarged liver.

If the physical exam results show there may be a sign of breast cancer – Various types of tests may also be done, such as…

  • A mammogram
  • An ultrasound on the breast/s
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the breast
  • Nipple discharge test – (For those that have discharge from the breast).  A sample is taken to check for any cancerous cells
  • Biopsy (tissue sample) – Sample is put under a microscope to check if any abnormalities are cancerous.


Male Get Breast Cancer Too: Patient and Doctor Discuss

Experience and Treatment

Article written by Wen Dee:

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