Is breast cancer in men a real thing? Do men actually get breast cancer at all? These are some of the questions boggling the minds of many. This write-up provides comprehensive information on breast cancer in men.
What is cancer
Cancer is a condition in which cells in a particular part of the body grow uncontrollably and spread to other areas of the body. Human cells grow and multiply to form new cells as the body requires. Sometimes, this orderly process malfunctions and abnormal cells grow and multiply where they shouldn’t. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer.
Does breast cancer affect men
The idea that breast cancer affects only women is a thing of the past. Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States are found in a man.
At what age do men get breast cancer
Male breast cancer may occur at any age, but it usually occurs between 60 and 70 years of age.
Who is at risk of getting male breast cancer
It is important to talk to your doctor about your family’s history of breast cancer because if a close family member has had breast cancer, your risk of getting breast cancer is higher.
Other factors such as:
- Exposure to radiation and
- Hormone therapy
Results in an increase in a man’s chance of breast cancer. All men can lower their risk of breast cancer by keeping healthy weight and exercising regularly.
What symptoms or signs will men with breast cancer experience
Men with breast cancer would usually experience:
- Lump or swelling,
- Irritation, or pain in the breast.
Note that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. It is, therefore, best to check them by your doctor if you present with such symptoms.
How is male breast cancer diagnosed
In order to diagnose breast cancer in men, tests that examine the breast are carried out. Physical and clinical examination of the breast, as well as imaging procedures such as x-ray (mammogram), may be done to check for general signs of health and disease.
Blood samples are usually checked to measure the amounts of certain substances called tumor markers. An unusual amount of such tumor markers can be a sign of disease. The most definitive procedure to confirm breast cancer involves the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer (histology).
This procedure is known as biopsy and could be quite invasive. If cancer is found some tests such as the Estrogen and Progesterone Receptor test, and HER2 test are done to study the cancer cells. These tests are very important because the results from these tests may show whether a certain form of treatment approach is necessary to stop the cancer cells from growing.
How is male breast cancer treated
As in women, treatment for male breast cancer depends on the cancer cell type and how far it has spread.
- Radiation therapy,
- Hormone therapy, and
- Targeted therapy are some available treatments for male breast cancer.
Do men survive breast cancer better than women
Survival for men with breast cancer is similar to that for women with breast cancer when their stage at diagnosis is the same. In men, breast cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage. Cancer found at a later stage may be less likely to be cured.
For more information, see the National Cancer Institute (https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/male-breast-treatment-pdq) and CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/men/index.htm) website.