Male Breast Cancer [return
to the list of articles]
"Men don't have breasts, they can't get breast cancer or other
This is a common misconception. The fact is all humans have breasts;
in women, the breasts develop due to stimulation by estrogen and
in men the breasts remain very small just under the nipple.
Men can have problems with their breasts. The most common problem
seen in men is "gyneocomastia" which is an overgrowth
of breast tissue. This presents as pain in one or both breasts with
a lump under the nipple. There are a few causes which can include:
excessive hormone production or stimulation due to alcohol abuse
or steroid use. Cortical medications have side effects which can
cause the breasts to enlarge.
Men can also develop breast cancer. About 1% of all breast cancers
are in men. For every 100 women who get breast cancer, one man will
get breast cancer.
Male breast cancer can present as a lump, pain in the breast or
a skin ulcer that does not heal.
Breast cancer in men is treated the same way as in females with
surgical removal of the breast and the lymph nodes under the arm.
Chemotherapy and radiation are also used to help prevent the spread
of the cancer.
On a stage for stage basis, men do as well as women in surviving
breast cancer, however, men usually ignore the symptoms longer and
present at a later stage( more extensive disease) than women. Screening
mammograms also help women to detect breast cancers at an earlier
stage than men.
If you are a male and notice a new lump, pain or a skin lesion
near your nipple, see your doctor. These can be the signs of a significant
-- Anthony M. Carrato, M.D.