Although not always known nor talked about, men can get breast cancer. Approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases in the United States occur in men. This number seems small, but 1% equates to about 2,000 men impacted by breast cancer per year. In 2017, this number is estimated to be higher at 2,470 cases.
As it is both rare and not often discussed, some men do not know that they can get breast cancer, leading to failure to notice early warning signs. Additionally, men who recognize changes may be embarrassed and delay seeking treatment. It is important to understand that all men have breast tissue and that it is not anything to be embarrassed of if these signs are recognized.
The risk of breast cancer in men may be elevated with a family history of breast cancer, in either gender family member, as well as older age. A BMI greater than 25, genetic predisposition, and levels of estrogen in the body also are recognized as potential risk factors.
Warning signs in men can be similar to the warning signs in women. It is important to understand these signs and look for any areas of concern. Whenever one of the following signs is noticed, seek your doctor’s attention. Warning signs in men are as follows:
- Lump, hard knot, or thickening of the breast or armpit
- Dimpling, puckering, or skin redness
- Change in the size and shape
- A nipple or area of the breast that begins to invert
Treatment of breast cancer in men involves some combination of the same procedures and therapies to treat breast cancer in women. Often times in men breast cancer is treated using hormone therapies. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important to speak with your doctor about the appropriate treatment plan.
Source: Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer in Men