Men and Breast Cancer

Updated: Sep 11, 2018



Male breast cancer is rare but a reality. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, let’s take a minute to discuss Male Breast Cancer. Male breast cancer is rare.


In the United States in 2017 there were 2,470 new cases and 460 deaths of male breast cancer. Even though rare, men should not dismiss breast cancer. The average age of male breast cancer diagnosis is between 60-70 years of age; however, it is important to know men of all ages can be affected with breast cancer.


Cancer.gov lists certain risk factors, which can increase the likelihood of male breast cancer such as:


· Being exposed to radiation

· Diseases linked to high level of estrogen in the body (Cirrhosis and Klinefelter syndrome)

· Several female relatives who have had breast cancer, especially relatives with alteration of the BRCA2 gene

· Inherited gene mutation


Men who have breast cancer normally have lumps which can be felt. Contact your doctor if you feel a lump.


Your doctor will perform one of the following tests or procedures once a lump is determined during a clinical breast exam:

· Ultrasound Exam

· MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

· Blood Chemistry Studies

· Biopsy

· Fine-Needle Aspiration (FNA) biopsy

· Core Biopsy

· Excisional Biopsy


You can learn more about the procedures and testing at Cancer.gov’s article “Male Breast Cancer Treatment”.


If cancer is found, tests are done to determine the type of cancer cell and other factors including:

· Quickness of the cancer growth

· Likelihood of cancer spreading (metastasizing) to other parts of the body

o Cancer spreads through tissue, lymph nodes and blood

· Available treatment options

· Likelihood of cancer returning


As with the results of women surviving breast cancer, the determining factor for survival in male breast cancer is early detection. The stigma of male cancer being deadlier stems largely from later diagnosis and delay in early treatment.


Your doctor will discuss treatment options once the stage of cancer is determined. Treatment options for male breast cancer are:

· Surgery

· Chemotherapy

· Hormone Therapy

· Radiation Therapy

· Targeted Therapy


Even though male breast cancer is rare and only affects a small portion of our population. Early detection is imperative. Remember early detection is key to survival.


Reference: Breast Cancer Can Occur in Men Tweets. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed at:

https://healthfinder.gov/nho/OctoberToolkit.aspx#tweets. Accessed on: September 27, 2017

Reference: Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. Accessed at:

https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/male-breast-treatment-pdq. Accessed on: September 27, 2017

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