Male Breast Cancer
When most people hear about Breast Cancer they think of women, and primarily women are the recipients of this dire diagnosis, however, 1 in 1000 men, according to The American Cancer Society’s (www.cancer.org) statistics. While this number is low, any incidences of cancer are too many. Stated simply, cancer is the term for diseases in which abnormal cells begin to divide and grow out of control. Breast cancer then is so termed when the tissue involved in the immediate diagnosis is breast tissue.
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Many men who develop gynecomastia worry that they might develop cancer. By itself, gynecomastia is not cancerous; however, males who have the condition are at higher risk of developing breast cancer if they have hormonal imbalance. Estrogen dominance is known to cause breast cancer in both females and males.
The causes of Breast Cancer in men are largely unknown, but studies have shown that genetics, hyperestrogenism, certain disease processes, and some drug uses are risk factors. Men with close family members who have had breast cancer (such as mother, sister, and aunt) may be at a higher risk than those who have no family incidences, as well as those who have diseases of the Liver, diseases of or traumatic injury to the testicles, or Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Abnormal exposure to radiation of the chest is considered a risk factor and the use of the drug Finesteride has been linked with higher instances of male breast cancer, however, during clinical trials the findings showed no such results so there is a need for further testing. Environmental factors such as smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol abuse, and exposure to other carcinogens increase one’s risk of cancer in general.
The symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those in women, as are the treatments and prognosis or survival rates. Men are usually diagnosed with breast cancer later in life and the average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is between 60-70 years of age. One of the biggest factors in male breast cancer is that most are diagnosed so late in the development of the disease. Because men are less likely to notice changes in their chest area, the opportunity for early diagnosis is often lost, and the earlier the diagnosis, the higher the chance of survival. Symptoms may include lumps in the chest or armpit area, bleeding or discharge from the nipple, or a rash or dimpling on the chest area. Any of these symptoms are reason to check with your physician.
The most important things to remember about any cancer are:
- Early detection saves lives
- Male breast cancer is treatable
- Your outlook and attitude are critical to your recovery.