Male Breast Cancer - Experience

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What is male breast cancer?

Men possess a small amount of nonfunctioning breast tissue (breast tissue that cannot produce milk) that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth with the potential for spread of some of the cells of this breast tissue. These cells become so abnormal in appearance and behavior that they are then called cancer cells.

Breast tissue in both young boys and girls consists of tubular structures known as ducts. At puberty, a girl's ovaries produce female hormones (estrogen) that cause the ducts to grow and milk glands (lobules) to develop at the ends of the ducts. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the breast also increases as girls go through puberty. On the other hand, male hormones (such as testosterone) secreted by the testes suppress the growth of breast tissue and the development of lobules. The male breast, therefore, is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: yooperreeds, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 31

I am a 63 year old male. I woke up one morning and had a walnut-sized lump under my right nipple. No previous sign of a lump. I went to the doctor 2 days later and he did an ultrasound and a core-needle biopsy. It was cancer. I had a total mastectomy 2 weeks later. I am now undergoing 4 treatments of chemotherapy (Cytoxan - Taxotere) in 3 week intervals. There was no lymph node involvement, but because of size of the tumor my stage was rated Stage III.

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Comment from: Captain, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 02

I had hot flashes from the tamoxifen medicine and decided after 6 months to stop the treatment for male breast cancer. I had no problems for almost 10 years. After 10 years the exact same breast cancer returned into the tissue of outer lining of my right lung and in my breast bone. Extensive testing has shown no further spreading anywhere else in my body. I am now back on tamoxifen and will probably take it the rest of my life.

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