Breast cancer in men is a rare disease. Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. In 2005, when 211,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, 1,690 men were diagnosed with the disease.
While breast cancer is indeed associated with women, there is a very small chance that men can get it too. Therefore it is just as important for men to know how to spot breast cancer in their own bodies. Yes, it is a rare condition, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to any changes you see. Just because a man’s boobs aren’t as big as a woman’s doesn’t mean it can’t happen to them.
Risk Factors (make sure to visit BreastCancer.Org to view additional information):
- Growing older
- High estrogen levels
- Klinefelter syndrome
- A strong family history of breast cancer or genetic alterations
- Radiation exposure
One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it’s still rare. It’s unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.
If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:
- a lump felt in the breast
- nipple pain
- an inverted nipple
- nipple discharge (clear or bloody)
- sores on the nipple and areola (the small ring of color around the center of the nipple)
- enlarged lymph nodes under the arm
Like women, early detection is crucial. If you see any of the symptoms above in yourself or the man you love, make sure to get to a doctor right away! It could save your, or his, life.
For More Information on Male Breast Cancer
- Mayo Clinic – Male Breast Cancer
- MedicineNet.com – Male Breast Cancer
- MedlinePlus – Male Breast Cancer