Surprised!! Yes, breast cancer is not limited to women.
Although women are about 100 times more likely to get this disease, man can also develop breast cancer.
However, men have much less breast tissue than women; they do have breast cells that can undergo cancerous changes.
Between the ages of 60 and 70 male breast cancer is most common. The prognosis for male breast cancer is the same as in women.
Male breast cancer was often diagnosed at a more advanced stage in the past, though this may no longer be the case now.
Although male breast cancer and breast cancer in women are similar, they differ in breast size and awareness affect, early diagnosis and survival in cases of male breast cancer
- The cause of breast cancer in men is not completely understood, but some men seem to be at higher than average risk of developing the disease. It is more common in men who have:
- A close relative diagnosed with this disease in both breasts, or
- several close members of their family (male or female) who have had this disease
- A relative diagnosed with this disease under the age of 40. Having several members of the family with cancer of the ovary or colon may also increase a man’s risk of developing breast cancer.
- Men with high estrogen levels or men who have been exposed to repeated doses of radiation in their childhood may be at an increased risk of developing this disease.
- Men who have a rare genetic condition called Klinefelter’s syndrome, and have an extra female chromosome present, have an increased risk of developing this disease.
Diagnosis! First of all your doctor will do a physical examination of the affected breast. Tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis, and to find out whether the cancer has spread. You may have some, or all, of the tests described below.
- Mammograms are the breast x-rays: Mammograms may be used to look for changes in the breast, but ultrasound which uses the sound waves is generally more helpful for diagnosing breast cancer in men.
- Needle biopsy: A small sample of tissue is taken from the breast with a needle and examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. An injection of local anaesthetic is given to numb the area before the biopsy is taken
- Needle aspiration: A thin needle is inserted into the breast in the area of the lump, and some cells are drawn out. This may be done at the same time as the ultrasound, so that the doctor can be sure that the cells are from the affected area of the breast.
- Blood tests: These are done to check your general health before performing any operation or surgery.
Early Detection! Mammography along with careful examination might be useful as a screening examination for men with a strong family history and BRCA mutations found by genetic testing. Because this disease is so uncommon, there is no value in screening mammography in most men.
Statistics! In the United States, The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006 some 1,720 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men. This disease is about 100 times more common among women.
Because of a history of cancer in their family, there are special clinics for people who are concerned that they may have an increased risk of developing cancer. These are known as family cancer genetic clinics.
Your general physician can refer you to one of these clinics if they think you may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.