MEN CAN GET BREAST CANCER

It is a rare occurrence but men can get breast cancer.  This happens in one out of a hundred cases.  When it happens the prognosis depends on the stage and grade of the cancer, just like in women.  And it is treated in a similar fashion with mastectomy, lymph node sampling, possible radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy if indicated.

 

Male breast cancer is usually detected as a painless lump.  Once a breast lump is found, men can get mammograms too, to determine the nature of the lump.  A core needle biopsy is often the next step.  Because of the limited amount of male breast tissue, these procedures are usually easier to perform than the same procedure in women.

 

Unfortunately, men can be carriers of the BRCA mutation for breast cancer.  If a parent has this gene, 50% of their offspring will also get the mutation.  Men that have a BRCA mutation are at much higher risk and have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer.  These men are also more prone to prostate cancer which because of the BRCA mutation are more aggressive cancers.  So if a sibling, parent or child has the gene, men should be checked for BRCA status.  On the other hand, because male breast cancer is so rare without the gene, all men with breast cancer should be check for a BRCA mutation.

 

Bottom line, if a man finds a lump in his breast he should seek medical attention.