• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Understanding male breast cancer

June 12, 2019

Though it’s thought of as a disease that strikes women, men also battle breast cancer.

“Men have breast tissue. I think that’s an important lesson,” says Dr. Kathryn Ruddy, medical oncologist and director of Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Survivorship Program. “If a man finds an abnormality in his breast tissue, he should seek prompt medical attention.”

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Ruddy explains who’s most at risk and what symptoms to watch for with breast cancer in men.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

True or false: Men get breast cancer?

"True. There are approximately 2,000 men diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States every year," says Dr. Ruddy.

She says men with a family history of breast cancer or a BRCA2 gene mutation are at higher risk for the disease. And she says it tends to occur in older men. However ...

"... men of any age can have breast cancer," says Dr. Ruddy.

She says male breast cancer often occurs near the nipple. Symptoms may include a lump, dimpling or puckering, redness or a discharge.

"So, nipple changes, nipple pain should be evaluated," says Dr. Ruddy. "Any change in the breast tissue needs to be assessed by a doctor."

Tests and treatments for men are similar to those used for women, including the use of mammography to investigate changes in breast tissue.

"The most important thing for men to realize is that they can get breast cancer, so they should not ignore any abnormality they detect in the breast tissue," says Dr. Ruddy.

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