MALE BREAST CANCER: WHAT MEN NEED TO KNOW
Men have breast tissue that is similar to women’s, and they can also rarely get breast cancer. This is something that not many people know. Men’s breasts have about the same amount of breast tissue as a pre-pubescent girl’s breasts. It doesn’t grow further in men because they don’t have enough chemicals like oestrogen, which is what makes breasts grow in women.
Males can get breast cancer in the milk tubes, glands, and other parts of the breast that don’t work. The biggest problem with male breast cancer is that most people don’t know about it, which means that it is often found at a later stage. This could be because guys are less likely to think that lumps, hard spots, or pain in the breast area are signs of cancer.
Why men get breast cancer
Klinefelter’s syndrome is a genetic condition in which male babies are born with much higher amounts of the hormone oestrogen than usual.
- Exposure to radiation: Being around ionising radiation has been linked to a higher chance of male breast cancer.
- Changes in genes: A change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene can cause breast cancer in guys, just like it can in women.
- Obesity: Metabolic syndrome can cause the body to make more oestrogen, which can raise the chance of breast cancer in men.
- Family history of breast cancer: Just like in women, a family history of breast cancer makes guys more likely to get breast cancer.
Male breast cancer symptoms
- A lump or mass of the breast tissue
A lump in the breast that is getting bigger or more painful
Changes in the breast skin, like dimples, lumps, redness, or swelling
Thickness or hardness in the area around the nipple-areola
Nipples that turn inward or leak from the nipples
How is breast cancer in men different from breast cancer in women?
- Age: Men usually get breast cancer when they are 60–70 years old, but women can get it at any age.
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men are the same as those in women, like a lump in the breast that doesn’t hurt.
- Hormone receptor positivity: In men, more than 90% of breast cancers are hormone receptor positive. In women, on the other hand, breast cancers can also be hormone receptor negative or triple negative.
- Lymph nodes: It has been said that lymph node positivity is more common in male breast cancer than in female breast cancer because it is found later and at a more advanced state in men.
Early detection can help avoid the pain and death that come with male breast cancer, which are the same as those that come with female breast cancer. In general, living a healthy life is a good way to help avoid male breast cancer and many other serious health problems.
Dr. Ashish Goel is the Director of Surgical Oncology at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, Delhi NCR.