Although breast cancer is usually associated with women, it can also affect men. Male breast cancer is a rare type of cancer. It forms in the men’s breast tissue. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in older men. If the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a greater chance to be cured. However, if men do not visit a doctor as promptly as they notice some symptoms, the cancer can be diagnosed at a later stage when the condition is more advanced.
The symptoms of male breast cancer are:
- Thickening in the breast tissue
- Painless lump
- Dimpling, redness or scaling of the skin on the breast or the nipple
- Inward nipple
- Discharge from the nipple
If any symptom from the above mentioned appears and it is constant, a man should visit the doctor as soon as possible in order to have early diagnosis and have greater chance the cancer to be cured.
It is not clearly familiar what causes the formation of breast cancer. However, doctors have acknowledged that the cancer appears when some breast cells divide more quickly than the healthy ones do. The rapidly divided cells then accumulate and form a tumor. The tumor can spread to the near tissue, the lymph nodes or other body parts.
The breast tissue contains the lobules, the milk-producing glands and the ducts that carry milk to the nipples. The breast tissue begins to develop in women during puberty. However, as everybody is born with some amount of breast tissue, men also have a bit of breast tissue and can also develop cancer.
There are few types of male breast cancer:
- Ductal carcinoma-cancer in the milk ducts (the most common type)
- Lobular carcinoma-cancer in the milk producing glands
- Paget’s disease of the nipple-cancer that spreads to the nipple (the rarest type)
The risk of developing male breast cancer is higher if a man:
- is older-the risk increases with the age; most common cases are between the ages of 68 and 71
- is taking estrogen-related drugs
- has a history of breast cancer in the family
- has liver disease that can reduce the male hormones
- has the genetic syndrome Klinefelter that causes abnormal development of the testicles
- has experienced testicle diseases or surgery
- has underwent radiation treatments to the chest
- is overweighed
The male breast cancer treatment will depend on the cancer’s stage, the overall health of the man and his personal preferences. The treatment can be surgery plus radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
- Surgery-removing of the tumor and the surrounding breast tissue
-modified radical mastectomy
-sentinel lymph node biopsy
- Radiation-cancer cells are killed with high-energy beams
- Chemotherapy-medications that are given to the patient intravenously or as pills
- Hormone therapy-medications like tamoxifen, if the cancer is hormone-sensitive