Not many people know this but along with women, men can also get breast cancer. We are all born with breast tissue which means that anyone can get breast cancer. Even though less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men it is still important to shed light on the topic. With it being breast cancer awareness month, we will uncover all there is to know about male breast cancer including symptoms, causes and treatment.
Types of Breast Cancer in Men
With male breast cancer, cancer cells form in the tissue of the breast and that usually occurs to men aged sixty and above. When it comes to the different types of cancer, the most common is called invasive ductal carcinoma which is cancer that spreads beyond the cells lining the ducts in the breast.
There is also ductal carcinoma in situ which is cancer that occurs in the cells lining the ducts in the breast and has not spread to other tissues in the breast.
Debunking The Symptoms
Knowing the common symptoms of breast cancer in men is important in helping to detect the illness. Some of the common symptoms include:
- a painless lump or swelling of the breast
- redness or flaky skin on the breast
- irritation of the breast skin
- nipple discharge or bleeding
- a nipple turned inward into the breast
- nipple pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to see your doctor right away.
What Can Increase Risk Of Male Breast Cancer
There are some factors that can increase a man’s chance of getting breast cancer:
- Aging: The risk of getting breast cancer increases with age with most breast cancer occurring to men aged 50 and above.
- Family History Of Breast Cancer: You have a greater chance of getting breast cancer if you have a relative who had breast cancer.
- Genetic Mutation: Being born with inherited changes to certain genes like the BRCA1 and BRCA2 can increase chances of getting breast cancer.
- Getting Hormone Therapy: Taking drugs that contain estrogen increases men’s chances of getting breast cancer.
- Getting Radiation Therapy: Men who had radiation therapy to the chest have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
- Klinefelter syndrome: If a man is diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome which is when they are born with an extra X chromosome, they have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
- Obesity: Obesity is linked with having high levels of estrogen in the body which increases chances of getting breast cancer.
Ways To Test For Male Breast Cancer
Knowing the risks and causes of breast cancer, it is always important to get tested to know for sure if you have breast cancer. There are many ways to do so including getting a clinical breast exam which is when a doctor examines the breasts and under arms to check for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
You can also go for a more accurate examination by getting a mamogram, ultrasound or MRI to get detailed pictures of your breast tissues. For a more invasive approach, you can go for a biopsy which involves the removal of cells or tissues to be examined under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.
How To Get Treatment For Male Breast Cancer
As with women, treatment for breast cancer in men depends on the size of the tumor as well as how far it spread. Treatment can include surgery (the surgical removal of the breast), chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells), radiation therapy, hormone therapy (to block effect of estrogen in the body) and targeted therapy (using drugs to treat certain types of breast cancer).
Knowing that breast cancer can occur in men, take this month to raise awareness whether at your school, university, workplace or home. By doing so, you can help to save lives, boost knowledge and reduce the risk of contracting male breast cancer.