Did you know that men can develop breast cancer as well? Men have breast tissue as well, even though it is not as developed as women’s breast tissue, which means that they can develop many of the breast cancers that women face.
Unfortunately men are are less likely than women to be suspicious of the same warning signs. This often leads to a delayed diagnosis, which also means that the tumor has more time to spread.
A man’s likelihood of getting cancer of all types, include breast cancer, increases with his age. Most men who are treated for breast cancer are between 60-70 years of age. In addition to age, there are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of breast cancer in a male:
– Genetic mutation which causes Breast Cancer
– Gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts) from drug or hormone treatments
– A close female relative diagnosed with breast cancer
– History of radiation exposure of the chest area
– Taking estrogen
– Cirrhosis of the liver
– Testicular disease such as Mumps Orchitis, testicular injury, or an undescended testicle
– Klinefelter’s Syndrome-a rare genetic disease
The symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to the symptoms experienced by women. Most male breast cancers are diagnosed when a man discovers a lump on his chest. As mentioned earlier, men tend to delay going to the doctor until they have more severe symptoms, like bleeding from the nipple. In many of these cases, once a man has taken the important step of seeing a medical professional the cancer may have already spread.
This unfortunate phenomenon is due in large part to the lack of public awareness around cases of breast cancer in men. Because instances of breast cancer in men is so low, men who exhibit factors that put them at an increased risk of breast cancer do not receive proper screening. For example, with male patients mammography is used as a diagnostic tool and not as a screening tool.
The same treatments that are used in treating breast cancer in women — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy — are also used to treat breast cancer in men. The one major difference is that men with breast cancer respond much better to hormone therapy than women do. About 90% of male breast cancers have hormone receptors, meaning that hormone therapy can work in most men to treat the cancer.
At SGLA Breast Center, Dr. Elizabeth Arena is a specialist in benign and malignant diseases of the breast. Her training and expertise in this field allows her to help her patients, female or male, put breast cancer behind them.