Breast cancer does not discriminate against men and although not as common as breast cancer found in women, it can affect men of all ages, although it is most often found in older men.
Men that have been diagnosed with male breast cancer at an earlier stage have a very high chance of survival. Unfortunately, many men delay seeking help from their general practitioner when they experience early systems and as a result many cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage.
Male vs. Female Breast Cancer Statistics
As many as 1,900 males are diagnosed with breast cancer each year as opposed to 190,000 females however the fatality rate is almost identical.
Male breast cancer has many similarities to breast cancer that is found in females including its etiology (origination), family history, prognosis and treatment.
The risk factors for male breast cancer include BRCA mutation, estrogen exposure, androgen insufficiency, obesity, cirrhosis, exogenous estrogen therapy and testicular abnormalities.
How to Detect Male Breast Cancer
Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer may include:
• A lump that is painless to the touch or thickening in the breast tissue
• Changes to the skin covering the breast area for example, dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
• Changes to the nipple area including redness and scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward
• Discharge from the nipple
What Causes Breast Cancer in Males?
Although it is unclear what causes male breast cancer, doctors do understand that male breast cancer occurs when some cells divide at a rapid rate.
The cells then form into a tumor which may metastasize (spread) to the surrounding tissue including the lymph nodes or other areas within the body. Both males and females are born with breast tissue which consists of lobules (milk-producing glands) which carry milk to the nipples.
During puberty, women will begin to develop additional breast tissue while men on the other hand do not. But because men are born with some breast tissue they are susceptible to developing breast cancer.
Types of Breast Cancer Diagnosed in Men
• Ductal Carcinoma – cancer that begins in the milk ducts and is the most common form of breast cancer found in males.
• Lobular Carcinoma – a type of breast cancer that is rarely found in males because males have very few lobules in their breast tissue. However this form of cancer has been found in a small percentage of men.
• Paget’s Disease of the Nipple – although rare, male breast cancer can form in the milk ducts and further spread to the nipple area causing scaly, crusty skin on and around the nipple.
Factors that Increase Risk of Breast Cancer in Males
Experts believe that inherited genes can increase the risk of breast cancer in males as well as females. Some males will inherit abnormal genes from their parents which can increase the risk of breast cancer.
One gene in particular, BRCA2 can increase the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer. Healthy genes make proteins which help stop cells from growing at an abnormal rate; but the abnormal mutated genes are not as efficient.
2D & 3D Digital Mammograms & 3D Whole Breast Ultrasounds in Stockbridge & Athens Georgia
Early detection is the key to a successful treatment program. Early detection includes an annual physical exam, mammography and ultrasound. To learn more about 2D and 3D digital mammography and 3D Whole Breast Ultrasound contact the knowledgeable professionals at Women’s Imaging Specialists today.