What is male breast cancer?

Male breast cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Most men with breast cancer have painless lumps they can feel. These lumps can develop anywhere on the breast but often are underneath the nipple and areola complex. A major problem is that breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later than breast cancer in women. Because men don’t have regular mammograms, their breast cancer is usually discovered when they feel sore, such as from a fall or injury. In many cases, the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes in a large number of men. 
Types of breast cancer diagnosed in men include:
  • Ductal carcinoma is a form of cancer that begins in the milk ducts. Nearly all male breast cancer is ductal carcinoma.
  • Lobular carcinoma is a form of cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands. This type is rare in men because they have few lobules in their breast tissue.
  • Paget's disease of the nipple is a form of cancer that spreads to the nipple.
Four stages of male breast cancer:
  • Stage I. The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters in diameter and hasn't spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II. The tumor may be up to 5 cm in diameter and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. Or the tumor may be larger than 5 cm but no cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes.
  • Stage III. The tumor may be larger than 5 cm in diameter and may involve several nearby lymph nodes. 
  • Stage IV. Cancer at this stage has spread beyond the breast to distant areas, such as the bone, brain, liver or lungs.
Risk factors
  • Older age
  • Exposure to estrogen
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Radiation exposure
  • Testicular disorders
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. 
  • Ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. 
  • Nipple discharge examination collects and examines nipple discharge under a microscope to see if any cancer cells are present.
  • Biopsy is necessary to distinguish normal tissue from cancer tissue. Various techniques are used to biopsy tissue:
  • Fine needle biopsy of palpable lesions (lesions that can be felt)
  • Stereotactic needle biopsy removes multiple pieces of a lesion. 
  • Incisional biopsy removes a bigger piece of tissue than a fine needle biopsy or a core biopsy. 
  • Excisional biopsy attempts to remove the entire suspicious lump of tissue from the breast. 
Treatments that are used in treating breast cancer in women are also used to treat the disease in men. Mastectomy is the recommended surgery along with, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormones.
  • Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men.
  • Detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70
  • Risk for male breast cancer is around 1 in 1,000.
  • Men have a 25% higher mortality rate than women.
brett miller male breast cancer
In this photo: Bret Miller - Founder of The Male Breast Cancer Coalition

  • "Male Breast Cancer." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • "Breast Cancer Statistics." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • "Male Breast Cancer Treatment." National Cancer Institute. National Institutes of Health, 18 July 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • Commissioner, Office Of the. "Breast Cancer—Men Get It Too." U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Office of the Commissioner, 27 June 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • Brown, Ken. "Breast Cancer in Men." Male Breast Cancer Treatment and Prognosis: Johns Hopkins Breast Center. Johns Hopkins Health System, 05 May 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
  • "Male Breast Cancer." Male Breast Cancer Symptoms, Treatment & More | Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.



Join the community!

You must be a member of healtheo360 in order to view this group

Register with Email Address

Already a member? Click here to login

healtheo360 believes strongly in user privacy.