Male Breast Cancer

Surprisingly breast cancer is not limited to women. Men can also develop this male breast cancer although women are at high risk of developing the disease.

According to studies it is evident that women are about 100 times more likely to get this disease than men.

The reason behind this is that men have much less breast tissue than women but it should be noted that they do have breast cells that can undergo cancerous changes similar to women. Men aged between 60 and 70 are at high risk of developing the disease. The prognosis for male breast cancer is the same as in women.

In the past male breast cancer was often diagnosed at a more advanced stage but now this is not the case. The breast cancer in men and women differ in their own way for instance in breast size and awareness affect, early diagnosis and survival.

Causes 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:

  • Several close members of their family (male or female) who have had this disease or
  • A close relative diagnosed with this disease in both breasts
  • 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 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
  • Men with high oestrogen 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.

Male Breast Cancer Diagnosis

The diagnosis of male breast cancer should be done to confirm the presence of the disease. For this purpose several tests need to be performed by the doctor on the onset of the symptoms. Also the tests are performed to know the spread of the disease as well. So this reason some or all of the tests described below may be done.

  • Mammograms are the breast x-rays: The changes in the breasts may be noticed by a simple mammogram but for sure cut analysis ultrasound which uses the sound waves is for diagnosing breast cancer in men.
  • Needle biopsy: This is a simple procedure which involves taking a small sample of tissue from the breast with a needle and later examining it under a microscope to check for cancer cells is done. An injection of local anesthetic 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.

In order to perform screening examination for men with a strong family history of developing the male breast cancer and BRCA mutations found by genetic testing a mammography along with careful examination might be useful.

The male breast cancer or breast cancer in men is uncommon type of cancer occurring. Though uncommon, people who are at high risk of developing the disease should be regularly tested for early detection.