9 Common signs and symptoms of male breast cancer
A lump-like swelling in the breast that may or may not be painful is the most common symptom of male breast cancer. A lump or thickening may be near the breast or in the underarm area. One side of the chest may appear bulkier than the other. Although most men diagnosed with breast cancer are older than 65 years, breast cancer can appear in younger men. Other common signs and symptoms may include:
- A change in the size or shape of the nipples
- Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt
- A dimple or puckering in the skin around the nipple
- A nipple turned inward
- Fluid discharge from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin around the nipple)
- Dimples in the breast that look like the skin of an orange, called peau d’orange
- Sometimes breast cancer can spread and cause swelling under the arm or around the collar bone even before the original tumor in the breast becomes big enough to be felt
Causes and risk factors of male breast cancer
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops from cells of the breast. Before puberty, girls and boys alike have a small amount of breast tissue with a few ducts (tiny tubes that carry milk) located under the nipple and areola. Hormonal changes at puberty cause girls’ breasts to grow. Male breast tissue does not increase as it does in females after puberty.
The breast tissues contain ducts and may contain a few lobules (glands that produce milk if the right hormones are present). Men’s breast duct cells can become cancerous like any other cell of the body. This disease is less common in men than in women because men’s breast ducts are less developed.
Causes and risk factors of male breast cancer
The cause of breast cancer in men is not clear. However, there are risk factors that make breast cancer more likely in men:
- Most breast lumps in men are caused by gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), which is an enlargement of the breast resulting from hormonal imbalance
- Exposure to radiation
- High estrogenic levels due to factors, such as heavy drinking, cirrhosis, obesity, and some medicines that were used to treat prostate cancer, may sometimes cause hormonal imbalance leading to breast cancer
- Heredities, such as a family history of breast cancer or mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene in the family
- Certain genetic disorders, such as Klinefelter syndrome (presence of an extra X chromosome in a man)
- Older age, men are often diagnosed with breast cancer between the ages of 60 to 70 years
4 Stages and treatment options of male breast cancer
Stages of male breast cancer
- Stage 0: Doctors consider breast cancer at this stage noninvasive, and it is only present in the ducts or the lobules. Ductal carcinoma in situ is a form of stage 0 breast cancer.
- Stage I: Breast cancer at this stage is invasive, but it remains small and near the primary site. Stage IA involves tumors that are 2 cm or smaller and have not reached the lymph nodes. At stage IB, cancer has reached the lymph nodes.
- Stage II: Stage II breast cancers are invasive, tumors may be larger than in stage I, and cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage III: Stage III breast cancer is invasive, tumors may be larger, and cancer has possibly spread to several lymph nodes. Breast cancer at this stage has not spread to other organs.
- Stage IV: Breast cancer has developed in other areas of the body outside the breast and lymph nodes, often in the bones, lungs, brain, or liver. Treatment at this stage focuses on controlling cancer and preventing it from spreading any further.
Treatment options for male breast cancer
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments can vary and sometimes be combined. They are:
- Lumpectomy: It is when the doctor removes the tumor while leaving the breast intact.
- Mastectomy: It is when the doctor surgically removes all the breast tissue including the tumor and connecting tissue.
- Chemotherapy: It is the most common cancer treatment, and it involves the use of anticancer drugs. These drugs interfere with cells’ ability to reproduce.
- Radiation: It uses X-rays to treat cancer directly.
- Hormone and targeted therapy: These can be used when either genes or hormones play a part in cancer’s growth.
Though male breast cancer is rare, they should be aware of the possible risk factors and treatment options. It is important to maintain healthy body weight and restrict alcohol consumption. Since the cause of most male breast cancers is unknown, the best defense is early detection. This improves the chances of successful treatment. A man should talk with the doctor about screening, especially if there is a strong family history of breast cancer, BRCA mutations (found via genetic testing), or they if experience any symptoms associated with the disease. Because men have very little breast tissue, it’s easier to feel small tumors.
- Baby Boys 'Talk' More During First Year Compared to Girls
- U.S. Teen Birth Rate Hits Another Historic Low
- Cancer Survivors Who Keep Smoking Have Double the Risk for Heart-Related Death
- Need a Prostate Exam? Here's What to Expect
- Prostatitis: What It Is, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Do Male Breast Cancer Lumps Feel Like? Related Articles
Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast CancerBone marrow transplantation is a treatment option for metastatic breast cancer. Check out the center below for more medical references on breast cancer, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors.
What you should know about breast cancer
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.
- One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer.
- There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues.
- The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors.
- There are 11 common types of breast cancer and 4 uncommon types of breast cancer.
- Breast cancer early signs and symptoms include
- a lump in the breast or armpit,
- bloody nipple discharge,
- inverted nipple,
- orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange),
- breast pain or sore nipple,
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and
- a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple.
- Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice.
- Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy.
- Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer: Diet Tips for Breast CancerNo single food or diet plan prevents breast cancer, but what you eat plays a role in how likely you are to get the disease or whether or not it comes back once you’ve had it.
What Should I Know About Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer of American women, but it can also occur in men. Every year in the U.S., there are over 266,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer. A woman has a risk of one in eight for developing breast cancer at some point during her lifetime.
Genetic Testing for Breast CancerIntensive genetic counseling is required before undergoing genetic tests for breast cancer. During this educational counseling session, the health care provider can fully explain the benefits and risks of genetic testing and answer any questions you may have. You will also be required to sign a consent form prior to participating in any genetic tests. The form is an agreement between you and your doctor, showing that you have discussed the test and how its results might affect your family.
How Common Is Breast Cancer in Teens? CausesBreast cancer in teenagers is extremely rare, occurring only in about one teen out of a million.
Inflammatory Breast CancerInflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Male Breast CancerMale breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
Radiation Therapy for Breast CancerRadiation therapy for breast cancer is a form of treatment that utilizes high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Check out the center below for more medical references on breast cancer, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Breast Cancer: Visual Guide to Male Breast CancerBreast cancer isn't just a woman's disease. Learn about the symptoms and treatment of male breast cancer, and find out what can put you at risk for this cancer.
What Are the Signs of Metastatic Breast Cancer?Signs of metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) include constant fatigue, constant nausea, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
What Type of Breast Cancer Is Most Likely to Metastasize?While all types of breast cancer have the potential to metastasize, HER2-positive and triple-negative cancers are more likely to metastasize faster than the other types.