Not many people know the facts about breast cancer in men. Since it is quite unusual, some don’t even know there is such a thing. It is true, though, that men can develop breast cancer. In fact, almost 2,000 of them do every year.
Breast Cancer in Men – The Basics
Men have breast tissue just like women, and that is why, although rare, a man can get breast cancer. Just like the female breast, a man’s breast contains ducts, and that is where most breast cancers begin.
Young men and women have the same breast tissue when they are young. In women, hormones make the breasts grow when they reach puberty. In men, hormones restrict that growth but a certain amount of breast tissue still remains. Women are 100 times more likely than men to develop breast cancer, and it may be due to the fact that they have so much more breast tissue.
Breast Cancer in Men – The Symptoms
Just as with female breast cancer, there are rarely any outward symptoms of breast cancer in men. When symptoms do appear, they are similar in both men and women:
• a lump or thickening in the breast or surrounding area
• an indentation in the nipple
• redness, scaling or any significant change in the appearance of the nipple or breast
• discharge from the nipple
Breast Cancer in Men – The Causes
There is no known cause of breast cancer in women or men. One factor that is known about the cause of breast cancer in men is that 1 out of every 6 cases are inherited. Other than that, any man can get breast cancer.
Breast Cancer in Men – The Risk Factors
While there is not one cause of breast cancer, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for a person to develop breast cancer. These include:
Men between the ages of 60 and 70 experience the most breast cancer.
Male exposure to estrogen can increase the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true with estrogen-related drugs that are taken during a sex change procedure, which can dramatically increase the breast cancer risk.
• Family History
Men with a family member who has had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer than those who have no family history of breast cancer. All forms of breast cancer are not hereditary, though.
Almost 20 percent of all cases of breast cancer in men are genetically inherited.
• Liver Disease
The changes that occur within the body of a person with liver disease can make the chances for developing breast cancer higher.
• Radiation Exposure
Anyone who is exposed to radiation is at higher risk for getting some form of cancer.
Breast Cancer in Men – The Prognosis
Men with breast cancer have the same prognosis as women. If the cancer is caught during its early stages, the chances for survival are usually 100 percent. Late stage cancer is more difficult to cure, but with treatment the five-year survival rate can be anywhere from 20-65 percent.