Men & Breast Cancer
Men Can Get Breast Cancer?
Everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue. Your breast tissue consists of milk-producing glands (lobules), ducts that carry milk to the nipples, and fat.
During puberty, women begin developing breast tissue. Men do not develop as much breast tissue as women. Since men are born with a small amount of breast tissue, they can develop breast cancer.
There are three different types of breast cancer diagnosed in men:
- Ductal Carcinoma - Cancer that begins in the milk ducts Nearly all male breast cancer is ductal carcinoma.
- Lobular Carcinoma - Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands. This type is RARE in men because they have few lobules in their breast tissue.
- Other, rarer types of breast cancer that can occur in men include Paget's disease of the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer.
Inherited genes that increase breast cancer risk
Some cases where men inherit abnormal (mutated) genes from their parents and that can increase the risk of breast cancer.
The BRCA2 gene, can put you at greater risk of developing breast and prostate cancers.
If you have a strong family history of cancer, please discuss your history with your doctor. Your doctor can recommend that you meet with a genetic specialist or you may consider genetic testing to see if you carry genes that increase your risk of cancer.
There are Factors that could increase the risk of male breast cancer that every person should be aware of.
- The Age clock never stops. The risk of breast cancer increases as you age. Male breast cancer is most often diagnosed in men in their 60s.
- Estrogen. Taking estrogen-related drugs, such as those used for hormone therapy for prostate cancer, your risk of breast cancer will increase.
- Family history of breast cancer. If you family members who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you could have greater chance of developing breast cancer.
- Klinefelter's syndrome. This is a genetic syndrome that occurs when young men are born with multiple X chromosomes. Klinefelter's syndrome causes abnormal development of the testicles. The result, leaving men with this syndrome produces lower levels of certain male hormones like (androgens) and more female hormones (estrogens).
- Liver disease. Most most people may not know that certain conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, can reduce male hormones and increase female hormones, and this increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Obesity. Being overweight can bring on many issues. With the higher levels of estrogen in the body, obesity will increase the risk of male breast cancer.
- Testicle disease. Inflamed testicles known as orchitis or surgery to remove a testicle called orchiectomy can increase your risk of male breast cancer.