Breast cancer is a type of cancer common in women, but the truth is that this disease might also harm men. But, male breast cancer is considered rare and uncommon, approximately 100 times less frequent than female breast, accounting for only 0.7-1.0% of all breast cancers. Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Based on clinical research, the incidence rates are higher among African-American men than White-American men. Male breast cancer mainly happens among men aged 55 years or older, resulting in a late average age at onset. The survival rate for men with breast cancer is similar to women with the same disease.
There are different types of breast cancer found in men:
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) - a cancer cell that has spread in the cell lining ducts of the breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer that happens in men.
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) - an abnormal cell found in the lining of a duct that is not as deep as infiltrating ductal carcinoma.
Inflammatory breast cancer - is a type of cancer in which the breast is swollen, feels warm and a red spot appears on the surface of the breast.
Paget disease of the nipple - a tumour that grows from ducts beneath the nipple and could be seen or emerge on the surface of the nipple.
Many studies found a strong relationship of risk for breast cancer with physical inactivity. People who had a physically active routine were statistically significantly low risk of male breast cancer. This finding may relate to the importance of sustained physical activity, which means that an active lifestyle may reduce the possibility of getting breast cancer or any deathliest disease. Spending a 30-mins simple walk, lifting light or heavy loads, climbing stairs, or doing any outdoor activities can help a person stay healthy and prevent getting cancer or any harmful infection.
Furthermore, a very high increase in the risk of men getting breast cancer with alcohol intake and the significance for consumption levels are above 60 g of alcohol per day. As a comparison between heavy alcohol drinkers, those drinkers that consumed more than 90 g alcohol per day and compared with light and non-drinkers, the risk of getting breast cancer is almost six times higher than the amount of light and non-drinkers.
- A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue
- Unusual changes to the skin of the breast, such as dimpling, puckering or redness.
- Feels warm, redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward
Technology and knowledge on how to detect breast cancer have been developing from time to time. The procedure can be conducted for both women and men population. One of the most popular techniques is a biopsy. Different biopsies are available, but core biopsy is preferred because it enables a definitive diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. Core biopsy is a procedure that uses a needle to take a sample of tissue from a lump in the infected area. The tissues are then examined under a microscope for any damage or abnormalities. Another method to detect cancer cells is through mammography. Mammography in men with breast lesions is also an effective diagnostic technique with a sensitivity of nearly 92% and specificity of around 90%. This technique is an x-ray imaging method used to examine the mammogram of the breast. The examiners or mammography technologists will look for abnormalities that appear different from normal tissues for the early detection of cancer through both diagnostic and screening tools.
Another type of detection for cancer cells is through ultrasonography. In the procedure of ultrasonography, invasive cancers are typically solid, and all solid lesions require biopsy. If a complex cystic mass is seen, this should raise the sonographer’s attention to malignant disease so that a biopsy is needed. Wide excision in male breast cancer will always include an incision of the nipple due to the small amount of breast tissue. Several retrospective studies have compared the outcomes of men treated with tamoxifen, a hormonal therapy medicine in an adjuvant setting, with those who received no hormonal therapy. This series of patients provides additional evidence that men at substantial risk of breast carcinoma recurrence will beneﬁt from adjuvant systemic therapy. In particular, men are likely to beneﬁt from adjuvant hormonal treatment than women, especially since over 90% of men have hormone receptor-positive disease.
In conclusion, breast cancer might harm men, even though this disease is commonly known to infect women. Practising a healthy lifestyle, reducing or avoiding alcohol intake, and choosing a low exposure to a harmful environment would decrease the risk of getting breast cancer or any cancer. For example, working in an office or management will suppress getting breast cancer. Genetic mutation is mainly inherited or exposed to radiation, but the expression may be detected early. Always setting up yearly medical health check-ups, including examinations for cancer markers in the body, will help determine the current health status for men or women.
- Fentiman, I. S., Fourquet, A., & Hortobagyi, G. N. (2006). Male breast cancer. The Lancet, 367(9510), 595–604. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(06)68226-3
- Rudlowski, C. (2008). Male Breast Cancer. Breast Care, 3(3), 6–6. doi:10.1159/000136825
- J. Ruddy, E.P. Winer, Male breast cancer: risk factors, biology, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, Annals of Oncology, Volume 24, Issue 6, 2013, Pages 1434-1443, ISSN 0923-7534, https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdt025Hines, S. L., Yasrebi, M., Tan, W. W., Perez, E. A., & DePeri, E. R. (2007). The Role of Mammography in Male Patients with Breast Symptoms. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 82(3), 297–300. doi:10.4065/82.3.297