Many people don’t know that men can get breast cancer because they aren’t aware that men have breasts. But men do have a small amount of breast tissue behind their nipples. This is where breast cancer can develop.
Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
Breast cancer may occur in men. Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.
The following types of breast cancer are found in men:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: Cancer that has spread beyond the cells lining ducts in the breast. Most men with breast cancer have this type of cancer.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: Abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a duct; also called intraductal carcinoma.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A type of cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm.
- Paget disease of the nipple: A tumor that has grown from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple.
Radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen, and a family history of breast cancer can increase a man’s risk of breast cancer.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for breast cancer in men may include the following:
- Being exposed to radiation.
- Having a disease linked to high levels of estrogen in the body, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) orKlinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder.)
- Having several female relatives who have had breast cancer, especially relatives who have analteration of the BRCA2 gene.
The genes in cells carry the hereditary information that is received from a person’s parents. Hereditary breast cancer makes up about 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some mutated genes related to breast cancer are more common in certain ethnic groups. Men who have a mutated gene related to breast cancer have an increased risk of this disease.
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