According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is 100 times less likely to affect men, with estimates of about 1,990 new cases being diagnosed every year and approximately 480 deaths occurring as a result. It is also reported that the chance of a man developing breast cancer in his lifetime is about one in a hundred thousand.
The last thing that a man expects to be admitted in hospital for is breast cancer. However, chances exist (although slim) of men developing breast cancer just like women.Male breast cancer awareness The male breast is similar to that of young girls yet to reach puberty, and contains a small amount of breast tissue that makes them susceptible to the condition. Factors such as gynecomastia, exposure of the chest to radiation, family history of breast cancer, obesity, increased age and having diseases of the testicles also increase the chances of a man getting breast cancer.
Initially, it was assumed that breast cancer in men was more severe than in women, but it was later confirmed to be approximately the same in both genders. The challenge with men is that they can rarely tell when there is a difference in their breasts, and this means that the condition will often be diagnosed when it has already progressed. There is also the risk of the cancerous tumours spreading fast to surrounding tissues and complicating the condition.
The symptoms of breast cancer in men will often resemble those found in women, with the most common being the appearance of a lump in the breast. The lump could be painless or not. Other less common symptoms include changes to the skin around the nipples such as scaling, puckering and dimpling, nipple retraction and nipple discharge. In more severe cases, patients may notice breast pain and swelling of lymph nodes around the breast tissue.
When it comes to diagnosis and treatment, the same procedures used for women are applied. For diagnosis, physical exams, mammography and biopsies are used. Treatment may involve one or more techniques such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and biological therapy. Research shows that about 90% of male breast cancers have hormone receptors and this makes them respond better to hormone therapy treatment as compared to women.
Just like in women, there is no definite way of preventing breast cancer in men. Nonetheless, having regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help reduce the risk. Men are also advised to be more aware of their bodies and report any suspicious changes to the doctor as soon as possible.