What Age Can a Male Get Breast Cancer? Risk Factors

Medically Reviewed on 6/22/2022
What Age Can a Male Get Breast Cancer
Breast cancer risk in men increases with age, and most men with breast cancer are diagnosed in their 60s and 70s

Although breast cancer is far more common among women, it can affect men in rare cases. Breast cancer risk in men increases with age, and most men with breast cancer are diagnosed in their 60s and 70s.

What causes breast cancer in men?

Although the exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, it results when the DNA in any cell of the breast tissue develops an abnormal change or mutation. This mutation may be due to  inherited genetic defects or environmental and lifestyle factors.

Whatever the cause, the mutation causes cancerous cells to multiply uncontrollably, eventually leading to cancer. Because breast cells grow and multiply in response to estrogen (female sex hormone), men with higher blood levels of estrogen may be predisposed to breast cancer.

What are risk factors for breast cancer in men?

Breast cancer is diagnosed in about 2,710 men each year in the United States. The lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833 men. Risk factors for breast cancer in men include:

  • Age (older than 60 years)
  • Family history of breast cancer (about 20% of men diagnosed with breast cancer have a history of breast cancer in their blood relatives)
  • Inherited gene mutations (particularly mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene)
  • Klinefelter syndrome (genetic condition in which a man is born with an extra X chromosome)
  • History of radiation therapy on the chest area
  • Abnormally high estrogen levels due to estrogen therapy or liver diseases
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Conditions that affect the testes such as undescended testis, surgical removal of the testis, or mumps in adulthood that leads to testicular inflammation or orchitis

How can a man tell if he has breast cancer?

Male breast cancer generally presents as a lump in the breast area. However, since lumps can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions, proper medical evaluation and diagnosis is necessary. Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer include:

  • Lump in the breast (generally painless)
  • Lump or swelling in the underarms or around the collar bone
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Changes in the appearance of the skin over the breast, such as dimpling or puckering (dimples may cause the breast to appear like an orange peel)
  • Changes in the position or appearance of the nipple such as redness, swelling, crusting, or inward turning of the nipple (nipple retraction)
  • Nipple discharge, particularly blood-stained fluid


Breast Cancer Awareness: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 6/22/2022
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