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Men and Breast Cancer

What Is Male Breast Cancer?

Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast. Male breast cancer is rare and accounts for about 1 in 1,000 cases.

The male breast is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.

Male breast cancer is sometimes caused by inherited gene mutations. Hereditary breast cancer makes up approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancers.

How Common Is Male Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age.

Types of Breast Cancer in Men

The most common type of male breast cancer is Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. IDC is a cancer that has spread past the ducts of the breast. IDC spreads outside the membrane that lines a duct or lobule, invading the surrounding tissues.

Rare cancers such as

  • Inflammatory Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that often starts within the soft tissues of the breast and causes the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast to become blocked.
  • Paget's disease of the nipple, a cancer that begins in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and areola, have also been seen in men.

Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer

The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is finding a firm, non-painful mass located just below the nipple.

Symptoms may include a breast lump, swelling, skin dimpling or puckering, nipple retraction, redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin, and nipple discharge.

Because men often wait to report the symptoms of male breast cancer, the disease is more likely to have spread.

Treatment of Male Breast Cancer

Most men diagnosed with breast cancer are initially treated by surgery. A modified radical mastectomy (removal of the breast, lining over the chest muscles, and portions of the axillary lymph nodes) is the most common surgical treatment of male breast cancer.

Radiation Therapy: involves using high-energy rays to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing.

Chemotherapy: treatment with anticancer drugs.

Hormone Therapy:often used if the breast cancer cells have estrogen receptors or progesterone receptors. Over 80% of male breast cancers have estrogen receptors.

Prevention of Breast Cancer In Men

Statistics have proven that prevention of breast cancer in men cannot be prevented, but early detection is the first stage in decreasing the risk of breast cancer. Regular check-ups and preventive health care appointments have proven to be a big factor in decreasing the risk. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may also help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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