Understanding Male Breast Cancer

Did you think men do not get breast cancer? Well, think again! Men have breast tissue similar to that in women (only smaller) making them vulnerable to cancer of the breast. Although it happens less often than in women, male breast cancer is a real problem many men in the world have to deal with. It accounts for about 1% of all breast cancer incidences. But what is male breast cancer? It is simply a malignant tumor that develops in the small breast tissue in men just beyond the nipple. Occurrence of the disease is rarer in males than females because the former have less-developed cells than the latter. Lower levels of female hormones responsible for the growth of breasts also make men less vulnerable.

Male-Breast-CancerThe chances of getting male breast cancer increase with age. As one ages, the chances of being diagnosed with the disease are increased greatly. Those diagnosed at an early age also stand a better chance of total healing than those diagnosed at an elder age. Men suffering from gynecomastia are also at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This is a condition in which the breasts are bigger than normal with more tissue. This is commonly caused by hormonal imbalances, with high levels of the female hormones like estrogen. With more tissue susceptible to cancer development, the chances are raised greatly.

How do you know if you have male breast cancer? The most obvious sign will be a painless lump in the breast. If you note this however, do not panic; it is not always cancer, but can be a benign growth that is not cancerous. Visit a doctor as soon as possible to have this confirmed. Other symptoms include discharge from the nipple, changes to the nipple, such as scaling or reddening, and similar changes to the skin covering the breast.

Some men are more prone to breast cancer than others. For instance, those who suffer from hyperestrogenism are more likely to get the disease. These tend to have high levels of estrogen and have receptors responsive to estrogen. Such men are not only at risk of getting breast cancer but also liver cirrhosis and Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Those suffering from these diseases are at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Breast cancer risk has also been linked to genetic makeup. Men with relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer whether female or male are at higher risk of getting the cancer. Steroid use among athletes and other bodybuilding experts also predisposes them to breast cancer and so does the use of finasteride the drug used to treat baldness.