Although the exact cause of breast cancer is not known, most
experts agree that some men have a greater risk for breast cancer than others.
In the United States, male breast cancer mostly affects men age 65 and older.1
How far have we come in women’s cancer? Keeping up with the latest treatment
trends and studies about cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus, and cervix can be
daunting. New studies come out seemingly every week with hot-off-the-press --
and often contradictory -- results. Mammograms? They’re either the key to
prevention or misleading at best. And what’s the final word on hormone
replacement therapy? Does it prevent or cause cancer? Experts have even
recently challenged the value of sticking to...
Having a history of breast disease that was not cancer.
Having enlarged breasts (gynecomastia).
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of male breast cancer is a painless lump or
swelling behind the nipple. Other symptoms can include a discharge from the
nipple or a lump or thickening in the armpit. Although most men diagnosed with
breast cancer are older than 65, breast cancer can appear in younger men. For
this reason, any breast lump in an adult male is considered abnormal and should be checked out by a doctor.
How is male breast cancer diagnosed?
Most male breast cancer is diagnosed with a
biopsy to investigate a lump or thickening in the
breast or armpit. Because there is no routine screening for breast cancer and a
breast lump does not usually cause pain, sometimes breast cancer isn't
discovered until it has spread to another area of the body and is causing other
Chemotherapy may be used after surgery to reduce the chance that breast cancer
will come back somewhere else in the body. If the breast cancer is sensitive to
certain hormones (meaning that the cells have estrogen/progesterone receptors),
male breast cancer may be treated with a hormone-blocking agent called tamoxifen.
Male breast cancer usually responds very well to chemotherapy or hormone
For more information about specific breast cancer
treatments, see the topics:
Male breast cancer is rare and makes up only about 1% of all breast
cancers discovered each year. For this reason, many experts encourage men with
breast cancer to talk to their doctors about
clinical trials. These trials continue to look for
better ways to treat male breast cancer.