Review of Men’s Breast Cancer
Men’s breast cancer is rare, but it happens to approximately 2000 men every year with thousands more reporting benign lumps or non-cancerous tissue growth. Men account for approximately one percent of all breast cancer patients. To learn more about male breast cancer, keep reading.
Male Breast Cancer Symptoms
Typically, any changes in tissue growth or bumps in men are usually benign (non-cancerous). However, that doesn’t mean men should feel comfortable in ignoring it.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are actually quite similar to the symptoms for women. These include nipple inversion, detecting a lump, unexplained tissue growth, change in breast size, skin puckering or dimpling, nipple discharge, itchiness or redness.
Men generally have less breast tissue than women, making it much easier to detect lumps. However, this also means the cancer can spread to other parts of the body more quickly than in women. This is why early detection is so critical for men.
Risk Factors for Men’s Breast Cancer
Men between the ages of 60 and 70 are the most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
About one-fifth of men who are diagnosed with breast cancer have at least one immediate female relative who has or had breast cancer.
Prior Radiation Exposure
Radiation exposure to the chest (for example, past treatment for lung cancer) can be a risk factor for the development of male breast cancer.
History of Liver Diseases
Because the liver helps to regulate hormone levels, many men who have endured a liver disease have hormonal problems such as lower levels of androgens. This puts them at an increased risk for developing breast cancer or gynecomastia (benign tissue growth).
Often men who are being treated for prostate cancer are put on estrogen treatments to help control the disease. These men may be at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. That said, the American Cancer Society says those risks are small and worth the benefits of improved health for prostate cancer patients.
Typically, men are born with one Y chromosome and one X chromosome. Klinefelter’s Syndrome is when a man is born with two or more X chromosomes (female chromosomes). Approximately 1 in 850 men were born with Klinefelter’s.
Men with Klinefelter’s usually have higher estrogen levels and lower androgen levels. This typically translates to a more significant risk rate for breast cancer.
Treating Breast Cancer in Men
Men’s breast cancer is typically treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy – or a combination of the four treatment courses.
Survival rates, particularly for those cases detected early, are good – 96% for stage I diagnosis, 84% for stage II diagnosis, 52% for stage III diagnosis and 24% for stage IV diagnosis.