Although it is more common in women, it is a little known fact that breast cancer can affect men as well. Let’s have a look at the risks we face with this fatal disease.
1. Men at a risk of breast cancer too.
Men are generally at low risk at developing breast cancer; but if they find any change in their breasts, they should see a doctor. Breast cancer in men is a rare disease (accounting for approximately 1% of breast cancer cases). Similar to female breast cancer, the incidence of male breast cancer increases with age.
2. Risk factors of male breast cancer.
It include BRCA gene mutations, Klinefelter syndrome, testicular disorders, family history of male or female breast cancer, and high estrogen level which can be a result of excess alcohol consumption, tobacco, less physical activity and obesity. Men possess a small amount of non-functioning breast tissue (breast tissue that cannot produce milk) that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth of the abnormal cells of this breast tissue.
3. Signs and Symptoms of male breast cancer.
Breast cancer does not produce symptoms when the tumour is small and most treatable. It is therefore very important to follow recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage, before symptoms develop. The most common sign in men is a firm, non-painful mass located just below the nipple. There may not be other associated symptoms. The cancer may cause skin changes in the area of the nipple. These can include ulceration of the skin, puckering or dimpling, redness or scaling of the nipple, or retraction (turning inward) of the nipple. Bloody or opaque discharge from the nipple may also occur.
4. Diagnosis of male breast cancer.
Men of all ages can be affected with the disease. Diagnosis of breast cancer requires identifying cancer cells in tissue specimens obtained by biopsy. It can be diagnosed by:
Breast self exam
Nipple discharge examination.
5. Treatment of male breast cancer.
It depends upon the stage and the patient's overall physical condition. Most men diagnosed with the cancer are initially treated by surgery. Breast cancer is curable even in men. Other methods used are:
Radiation therapy: May be used to destroy cancer cells remaining in the breast, chest wall, or underarm area after surgery, or to reduce the size of a tumour before surgery.
Systemic therapy: Anti-cancer drugs are injected into a vein or given by mouth. It includes biologic therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.