Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

When it comes to breast cancer, the common narrative often focuses on women, but it's crucial to recognize that men also have small amounts of breast tissue. Their breast structure resembles that of prepubescent girls. While men can develop breast cancer, it typically doesn't involve the parts responsible for milk production and storage.

Breast cancer in men tends to be diagnosed later than in women. This delay may be due to a lack of awareness about the risk in men, leading to the neglect of lumps in the breast area. The limited breast tissue in men also makes early cancer detection more challenging, potentially allowing tumors to spread more rapidly.

Which Men Are More Likely to Develop Breast Cancer?

A man's likelihood of developing breast cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring between 60 and 70 years old. It's rare for men under 35 to receive a breast cancer diagnosis. Risk factors for breast cancer in men include:

- Having a close female relative with breast cancer
- Past radiation exposure to the chest area
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) due to treatments, infections, hormones, or poisons
- Estrogen intake
- Klinefelter's syndrome (a rare genetic condition)
- Cirrhosis (severe liver disease)
- Testicular diseases, such as mumps orchitis, testicular injury, or undescended testicles


Most male breast cancers are identified when a man discovers a lump on his chest. Symptoms are similar between men and women, but men tend to delay seeking medical attention until symptoms are more severe, such as discharge and bleeding from the nipple.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer use similar techniques in both men and women. It involves a physical exam, mammogram, and confirmation through a biopsy. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy. Notably, about 90% of male breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, making men more responsive to hormone therapy than women.

It's vital for both men and women to be vigilant about signs that may indicate breast cancer:

1. Lump in the breast or underarm
2. Swelling in the breast, armpit, or collarbone
3. Pain or tenderness in the breast
4. Flat or dimpled areas on the breast
5. Changes in breast size, shape, texture, or temperature
6. Nipple changes, including inward pull, dimpling, burning, itching, developing sores, or nipple discharge

Regardless of gender, being aware of potential signs of breast cancer is crucial. Regular breast self-exams and seeking medical advice when in doubt are essential practices. For those undergoing hormone therapy, collaboration with an expert monitoring hormone levels is recommended. Feel free to reach out if you have questions about breast health and hormones.