Breast cancer in men
Breast cancer is cancer that starts in breast tissue. Both males and females have breast tissue. This means that anyone, including men and boys, can develop breast cancer.
Breast cancer in men is rare. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers.
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma - male; Ductal carcinoma in situ - male; Intraductal carcinoma - male; Inflammatory breast cancer - male; Paget disease of the nipple - male; Breast cancer - male
The cause of breast cancer in men is not clear. But there are risk factors that make breast cancer more likely in men:
Symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will take your medical history and family medical history. You will have a physical exam and a breast exam.
Your provider may order other tests, including:
If cancer is found, your provider will order other tests to find out:
The tests may include:
The biopsy and other tests will be used to grade and stage the tumor. The results of those tests will help determine your treatment.
Treatment options for breast cancer in men include:
During and after treatment, your provider may ask you to have more tests. This may include tests you had during diagnosis. The follow-up tests will show how the treatment is working. They will also show if the cancer comes back.
Cancer affects how you feel about yourself and your life. You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have had the same experiences and problems can help you feel less alone. The group can also point you to helpful resources for managing your condition.
Ask your provider to help you find a support group of men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The long-term outlook for men with breast cancer is excellent when the cancer is found and treated early.
Complications include side effects from surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider right away if you notice something unusual about your breast, including any lumps, skin changes, or discharge.
There is no clear way to prevent breast cancer in men. The best way to protect yourself is to:
Hunt KK, Mittendorf EA. Diseases of the breast. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 34.
Jain S, Gradishar WJ. Male breast cancer. In: Bland KI, Copeland EM, Klimberg VS, Gradishar WJ, eds. The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Diseases. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 76.
National Cancer Institute website. Male breast cancer treatment (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/male-breast-treatment-pdq. Updated February 8, 2018. Accessed August 22, 2018.
Review Date: 7/26/2018
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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