Breast cancer may be thought of as a disease that affects only women. It's the second-most common cancer diagnosed in women in the U.S., and it will affect 1 in 8 women, according to the American Cancer Society. Much of the messaging around breast cancer research focuses on the disease in women. However, breast cancer can occur in men as well.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn about breast cancer in men.
An estimated 2,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the U.S. this year, and about 530 men will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Men diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage have a good chance for a cure.
Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer can include:
Factors that increase the risk of male breast cancer include:
Some men inherit mutated genes from their parents that increase the risk of breast cancer. Mutations in one of several genes, especially a gene called BRCA2, put you at greater risk of developing breast and prostate cancers.
If you have a strong family history of cancer, discuss this with your healthcare team. They may recommend that you meet with a genetic counselor in order to consider genetic testing to see if you carry genes that increase your risk of cancer.
Male breast cancer treatment often involves surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding breast tissue. Radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy also may be recommended. If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer, your treatment will be based on the stage of your cancer, your overall health and your preferences.