Breast Cancer Kills Men Too

Although breast cancer in men is a rare disease (accounting for approximately 1% of breast cancer cases in the US), the incidence rate among males increased 1.0% annually between 1975-2004. The reasons for the increase are unknown and are not likely to be attributable to increased detection. Similar to female breast cancer, the incidence of male breast cancer increases with age. Men are more likely than women to be diagnosed with advanced disease and thus have poorer survival rates. Late-stage diagnoses are more common in men because they may not be aware of, or respond as quickly to, changes in their breasts and because they are not screened for breast cancer. Mammography is not recommended for men because breast cancer in men is rare. Death rates from male breast cancer have remained essentially constant since 1975. 2,030 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2007 and about 450 deaths.

Which men are most at risk?

  • Over 65
  • African-American
  • Those exposed to radiation therapy
  • Those with family history of breast cancer

All men are potentially at risk, and should begin doing breast self-exams, checking for unusual lumps beneath the nipple. If a malignant lump is found, local breast removal may be recommended.

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men?

  • Nipple discharge (usually bloody)
  • Nipple inversion
  • Breast lump
  • Occasionally, local pain, itching, pulling sensation

What are risk factors in men?

  • Growing older
  • Family history of male or female breast cancer
  • Klinefelter's syndrome
  • Gynecomastia
  • Testicular disorders
  • Obesity