Male Breast Cancer  

Many people are surprised to learn that men are vulnerable to breast cancer, just like women. While women certainly develop the disease at higher rates than men, about 1900 men develop male breast cancer in the

U.S. each year.It is a rare for men to develop breast cancer, but awareness is still important. Learning the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer is helpful for earlier detection and treatment. 

 

 

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms 

 

Like most disease, male breast cancer has symptoms that are more common than others. You can see that a breast lump and changes in the nipple are two significant symptoms

 

MBC typically presents as a painless, firm mass that is usually subareolar, less often in the upper outer quadrant. The left breast is involved slightly more often than the right, and less than 1 percent of cases are bilateral. 

 

Nipple retraction, ulceration of the nipple or skin, fixation to skin or underlying muscle, tumor tenderness, and palpable axillary nodes. The reported rate of nipple involvement is 40 to 50 percent, possibly because of the scarcity of breast tissue, and the central location of most tumors. Serosanguinous or bloody nipple discharge is unusual.

 

Breast cancer in men usually causes a lump or mass, commonly in the left breast, but can also occur in the right breast-- but usually not both. While nipple discharge is not a common symptom, inverted nipples, changes of the skin on the nipple and around the breast can occur, probably due to how little breast tissue have in comparison to women. Lymph nodes found in the armpit (axillary nodes) may be enlarged and able to be felt, depending on how far the cancer has spread. 

 

If You Have Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer 

 

Male breast cancer is just as serious as the breast cancers that women develop. Men typically wait for symptoms to go away or become worse before seeking medical attention 

 

Certainly other conditions can cause breast lumps and nipple changes, but these symptoms absolutely must be evaluated by a physician 

 

Benign (non-cancerous) lumps can occur in the breast, but are rare in men. Women are much more likely to develop benign lumps. 

 

Risk Factors

 

Although the majority of men with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, several have been identified; the risk of developing MBC was increased in men with the following characteristics   

Never married  

Jewish ancestry  

Previous benign breast disease gynecomastia  

History of testicular or liver pathology  

Family history of breast cancer, or prior chest wall irradiation  

The risk was significantly higher in men who had a first degree relative with breast cancer . 

History of a bone fracture after age 45  

Obesity  

Low levels of physical activity  

 

Staging

If the biopsy shows that you have breast cancer, your doctor needs to learn the extent (stage) of the disease to help you choose the best treatment. The stage is based on the size of the cancer, whether the cancer has invaded nearby tissues, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Staging may involve blood tests and other tests

         Bone Scan

   The doctor injects a small amount of a radioactive substance into a blood vessel. It travels through the bloodstream and collects in the bones. A machine called a scanner detects and measures the radiation. The scanner makes pictures of the bones. The pictures may show cancer that has spread to the bones.

CT Scan

Doctors sometimes use CT scans to look for breast cancer that has spread to the liver or lungs. An x-ray machine linked to a computer takes a series of detailed pictures of your chest or abdomen. You may receive contrast material by injection into a blood vessel in your arm or hand. The contrast material makes abnormal areas easier to see.

 Lymph node biopsy:

The stage often is not known until after surgery to remove the tumor in your breast and one or more lymph nodes under your arm. Surgeons use a method called sentinel lymph node biopsy to remove the lymph node most likely to have breast cancer cells. The surgeon injects a blue dye, a radioactive substance, or both near the breast tumor. Or the surgeon may inject a radioactive substance under the nipple. The surgeon then uses a scanner to find the sentinel lymph node containing the radioactive substance or looks for the lymph node stained with dye. The sentinel node is removed and checked for cancer cells. Cancer cells may appear first in the sentinel node before spreading to other lymph nodes and other places in the body.

These tests can show whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of your body. When breast cancer spreads, cancer cells are often found in lymph nodes under the arm (axillary lymph nodes). Also, breast cancer can spread to almost any other part of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs, and brain.

When breast cancer spreads from its original place to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary (original) tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer. For that reason, it is treated as breast cancer, not bone cancer. Doctors call the new tumor "distant" or metastatic disease.

These are the stages of breast cancer

Stage 0

is sometimes used to describe abnormal cells that are not invasive cancer. For example, Stage 0 is used for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS is diagnosed when abnormal cells are in the lining of a breast duct, but the abnormal cells have not invaded nearby breast tissue or spread outside the duct. Although many doctors don't consider DCIS to be a cancer, DCIS sometimes becomes invasive cancer if not treated.

This picture shows ductal carcinoma in situ.

 

Stage I

is an early stage of invasive breast cancer. Cancer cells have invaded breast tissue beyond where the cancer started, but the cells have not spread beyond the breast. The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across.  

This picture shows cancer cells spreading outside the duct. The cancer cells are invading nearby tissue inside the breast.

Stage II

is one of the following

The tumor is no more than 2 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) across. The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

The tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches). The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

The tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters (three-quarters of an inch to 2 inches). The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters (2 inches).
The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes under the arm.

Stage III

is locally advanced cancer. It is divided into Stage IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC.

Stage IIIA

is one of the following

The tumor is no more than 5 centimeters (2 inches) across. The cancer has spread to underarm lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures. Or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes behind the breastbone.

The tumor is more than 5 centimeters across. The cancer has spread to underarm lymph nodes that are either alone or attached to each other or to other structures. Or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes behind the breastbone.

Stage IIIB

is a tumor of any size that has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast. It may be associated with swelling of the breast or with nodules (lumps) in the breast skin

The cancer may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm.

The cancer may have spread to underarm lymph nodes that are attached to each other or other structures. Or the cancer may have spread to lymph nodes behind the breastbone.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

is a rare type of breast cancer. The breast looks red and swollen because cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. When a doctor diagnoses inflammatory breast cancer, it is at least Stage IIIB, but it could be more advanced.

Stage IIIC

is a tumor of any size. It has spread in one of the following ways

The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes behind the breastbone and under the arm.

The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above or below the collarbone.

Stage IV

is distant metastatic cancer. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones or liver.

Recurrent cancer

is cancer that has come back after a period of time when it could not be detected. Even when the cancer seems to be completely destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in your body after treatment. It may return in the breast or chest wall. Or it may return in any other part of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs, or brain.

 

Learn all you can about Male Breast Cancer. The more you know about your cancer and your treatment options, the more confident you'll feel as you make decisions about your treatment. Write down any questions you might have and ask them at your next doctor's appointment. Ask your doctor or other members of your health care team to recommend reputable sources for further information. Some good places to start include the National Cancer Society's Cancer Information Service at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237), or the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345).

 

 

 

 

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