Breast Cancer in Men ! Yes it happens

Most of us remain unaware of the fact that Breast Cancer can happen in men too. It is not a totally women specific medical condition. According to American Cancer Society, 1% cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men. 2,550 new cases and 480 deaths occur among American men every year due to breast cancer. Some people find this fact hard to digest, but it happens. Increasing your knowledge on this topic can help you in understanding why it happens in men and also help you in diagnosing early symptoms of breast cancer in men.

Why do men have breast cancer, when they don't have breast?
Most of the people think that men don't have breast, but the truth is that men possess very small breast tissue behind their nipple, which is non-functioning in nature and cannot produce milk. Male breasts have small undeveloped ducts and small amount of fat compared to females. But still this region can get affected by cancer due to some factors mentioned further in this article.
Do you know that Gynecomastia is a disease which makes men develop breasts like women due to hormonal imbalance.
Which factors set men at risk of Breast Cancer ? 

  • Elevated levels of female hormone estrogen is major factor responsible for breast cancer in men.
  • Family history of breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure can also set you at risk of breast cancer. Sometimes radiation exposure given on chest region to treat other types of cancer can sometimes result in breast cancer.
  • Klinefelter's syndrome also put you at risk of breast cancer. It is a genetic disorder in which instead of having XY chromosome, the man have XXY chromosome. One extra X chromosome that comes from mother, results in excess estrogen hormone, which can result in breast cancer. Men suffering from this disease have 50 times more chances of suffering from breast cancer than normal men.
  • Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol abuse causes a disease named cirrhosis of the liver, which results in high estrogen level and it can lead to beast cancer.

In 85% Male Breast Cancer cases, excess estrogen in one of the major reasons.
Do deodorants cause breast cancer in Men? This article previously published on give you an insight on a suspected source of breast cancer among men.

Male Breast Cancer Symptom

A lump beneath the nipple is the most common clinical symptom. It should be diagnosed by a doctor as it might be just gynecomastia. Other common male breast cancer symptoms are:

  • Itching on  nipple
  • nipple turning inwards
  • ulceration of skin
  • discharge from the nipple

Worst thing about male breast cancer is that it can also spread to nearby organs, so the symptoms should not be ignored.

Types of Breast Cancer in Men

  • Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma: Origin of this type of cancer is in ducts (tubular structures) of the breast. It is called infiltrating because it can easily spread to other nearby tissues. It is most common breast cancer in both men and women.
  • Lobular cancer: It is very rare among men as it happens in the milk glands, known as lobules. Even if a man develops breast, the chances of having lobules are extremely rare.
  • Ductal Carcinoma in situ: In this less common type of male breast cancer, the cancer exists only in the ducts.
  • Cystosarcoma phylloides : This type of breast cancer occurs in the connective surrounding tissues of the ducts.
  • Paget's disease of the breast : This type of breast cancer affects the skin of nipples.

Male Breast Cancer Treatment

Staging is done before any type of treatment which is similar to stages of breast cancer in women. Further treatment depends on the stage of cancer. Surgery is the most common initial treatment for male breast cancer. In that surgery following portions of the chest are surgically removed.

  • removal of the breast
  • removal of lining over the chest muscles
  • axillary lymph nodes from underarm are also removed
  • In some cases, some muscles of chest are also removed

After the surgery some therapies like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy can be suggested if the specialist believes that cancer has spread to lymph nodes.

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