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When people think about breast cancer, they commonly think about female breast cancer. Even though it is true that females are far more likely to develop breast cancer when compared to males, it is also true that men can develop breast cancer.
Therefore, it is important to recognize male breast cancer symptoms, understand how the treatment process works, and know when to reach out to a healthcare provider with questions and concerns. The survival rate of male breast cancer is high for localized breast cancer, but gets lower the more it spreads. It’s really important to identify the symptoms of male breast cancer as quickly as possible.
Learn about male breast cancer below, and do not hesitate to reach out to a medical provider to learn more.
What Causes Breast Cancer in Older Men?
Breast cancer takes place when the cells of the breast tissue divide uncontrollably. Typically, cells need to receive signals from other parts of the body before they are permitted to divide. When breast cancer develops, the breast tissue cells divide without these signals, causing them to impact tissues in the nearby area, leading to symptoms.
Factors That Increase Chances of Breast Cancer
There are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of someone developing male breast cancer. They include:
- Individuals who are older
- Those with a family history of breast cancer
- Individuals who have been exposed to a significant amount of radiation
- Men who have undergone estrogen treatment
Male Breast Cancer Symptoms
Breast cancer can look different depending on the type of breast cancer and its stage. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- The presence of a lump or swelling in the breast tissue
- A nipple that retracts or has been turned inward
- Discharge coming from the nipple
- Breast skin that looks red and scaly
Anyone who has any of the symptoms above should reach out to their doctors for a complete exam.
Types of Male Breast Cancer
There are several types of male breast cancer. They include:
Ductal carcinoma refers to cancer of the breast ducts. While this type of cancer starts in the breast ducts, it can also spread elsewhere. This type of breast cancer can cause discharge to come from the breast tissue.
Lobular carcinoma is rare because normal male breast tissue does not have lobules and acini; however, men with lobules and acini are at risk of developing this specific type of male breast cancer.
Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma
Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. This refers to breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the breast tissue. It needs to be treated as quickly as possible.
Treatment Options for Male Breast Cancer
There are several treatment options for male breast cancer. They include:
- Surgery: If the cancer is still localized, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the lump. The surgeon will do their best to get all of the tissue.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy can also be recommended as a treatment option for male breast cancer. Radiation is targeted to cancer cells to destroy them while minimizing damage to healthy tissues.
- Chemotherapy: The doctor may also recommend chemotherapy, which is used to target cells that divide quickly, such as cancer cells.
The treatment process is customized to meet the needs of the individual. The doctor may recommend one or all of the treatment options above.
Understand the Basics of Male Breast Cancer
Even though breast cancer is more common in women, it can also appear in men. It is important for men to be able to recognize male breast cancer symptoms as early as possible so they can get the treatment they need.
It is also critical for men to see their primary care doctors once per year for a complete physical exam. That way, the doctor has a chance to recognize signs and symptoms of breast cancer that the patient may have missed.
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