Male Breast Cancer
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Can men can also get breast cancer? If they can, will you tell me how to look for it and how it is different/or the same as the breast cancer that women get?
Kenneth Blank, MD, and John Han-Chih Chang, MD, Editorial Assistants for Oncolink, respond:
Breast cancer can occur in men but is relatively uncommon with less than one case per 100,000 males. Risk factors for the development of male breast cancer include Klinefelter's syndrome, testicular injury, mumps orchitis, elevated body weight, a family history of male or female breast cancer and family cancer syndromes.
The predominant presenting symptom is a mass in the breast. Other symptoms and signs of male breast cancer include nipple discharge (particularly if bloody), nipple retraction and skin ulceration.
The treatment of male breast cancer is similar to that of female breast cancer. Historically, radical mastectomy was the treatment of choice, but surgeons may perform less aggressive surgery if the cancer is small and doesn't involve underlying chest muscle. The use of radiation and chemotherapy after surgical removal of the tumor follows the same principles as in female breast cancer.