We recently posted the story of Male breast cancer survivor and got a really good response! So we thought we’d take the topic ahead and talk about Breast Cancer in Men.
During puberty, boys have very low levels of female hormones. So, breast tissue never really grows in men. Because of this, a lot of people don’t realise that men also have breast tissue. This means that they can also develop any of the forms of breast cancer that women do. Tumours in the breast tissue can be lobular, nodular, ductal or even glandular. And although none of this anatomy is normally functional in men, they can still develop tumours. It is important to understand that any lumps or irregular changes could also be benign or harmless. However, it is always advisable to get yourself checked, in order to determine your future cancer risk.
The RISK FACTORS for breast cancer in men are usually age (men over 70 are more susceptible), family history of breast cancer (in both male and female family members), inheritance of genetic mutations (eg. BRCA2, PTEN, etc.), oestrogen treatment, severe liver disease and/or obesity (both impact the quantity of female hormones produced in the body), Klinefelter syndrome, excess radiation to the chest (eg. from repeated chest X-rays), and testicular conditions (eg. undescended testicles, surgical removal, adult mumps, etc.). The SYMPTOMS of breast cancer in men include, a lump or thickening in breast tissue, changes to the skin covering the breast (dimpling, puckering, scaling, redness), changes in the nipple (inversion, redness, scaling), or discharge from the nipple. There is also the possibility that certain symptoms of breast cancer may be explained by conditions such as gynecomastia and benign lumps. However, if it is cancer, there are several TREATMENT OPTIONS available. These are determined by your doctor and include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy (eg. Trastuzumab), as well as combinations of these.