Male breast cancer – symptoms, causes and treatment

male breast cancer

It is biggest misunderstanding in people that breast cancer occurs in women only. But it can occur in men too. Even though male breast tissue do not have milk producing tissue, still males can develop breast cancer. The percentage of developing breast cancer in men is very less i.e. 1 in 1000. But the mortality rate Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump below the nipple and areola.

The cause of breast cancer in male is unknown. But the breast cancer occurs when some breast cells divide more rapidly than other healthy cells, which forms a tumour that may spread (metastasize) to nearby tissue, to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of breast cancer in male:

Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer can include:

  • A painless lump or thickening in breast tissue
  • Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
  • Redness or scaling on nipples or a nipple that begins to turn inward
  • Discharge from nipple

Types of breast cancer diagnosed in men include:

  • Cancer that begins in the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma):Nearly all male breast cancer is ductal carcinoma.
  • Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobular carcinoma):This type is rare in men because they have few lobules in their breast tissue.
  • Other types of cancer:Other, rarer types of breast cancer that can occur in men include Paget’s disease of the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer.

How breast cancer is diagnosed in Male?

Your breast cancer doctor may conduct a number of diagnostic tests and procedures, such as:

  • Clinical breast exam: The doctor physically check breast and surrounding areas for lumps or other changes.
  • Imaging tests: Doctors check images of breast tissue to identify abnormal areas:Tests may include a breast X-ray (mammogram) or an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create images.
  • Removing a sample of breast cells for testing (biopsy):In biopsy, doctor uses a specialized needle device guided by X-ray or another imaging test to extract a core of tissue from the suspicious area. These samples are then tested in laboratory for analysis of cancerous cells.

What are treatment options for male breast cancer?

Breast cancer doctor decides treatment options for breast cancer based on stage, overall health and patient’s preferences. Treatment procedure often involves surgery and may include other treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

·        Surgery:

Breast cancer surgery is performed to remove the tumour along with surrounding breast tissue.

·        Radiation therapy:

In male breast cancer, radiation therapy might be used after surgery to kill remaining breast cancer cells if any.

·        Hormone therapy:

Hormone therapy for male breast cancer often involves the medication tamoxifen.

·        Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill any cancer cells that might have spread in surrounding area. It is recommended by many cancer specialist for men with advanced breast cancer.