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Can Men Get Breast Cancer? Know the Facts

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Can Men Get Breast Cancer? Breast cancer is a condition where breast cells become mutated and grow out of control.

There are several different types of breast cancer, which are categorized by the specific cells within the breast that become cancerous. In some cases, breast cancer spreads to other areas of the body through lymph and blood vessels. When this occurs, the cancer has metastasized.

Although it is less common, breast cancer does affect men. In the United States, around 266,400 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer each year – 264,000 women and 2,400 men – and about 42,000 women and 500 men die of the disease annually. This article explores breast cancer in males, the symptoms of the disease, and how it is diagnosed and treated.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer?

Yes. Men can get breast cancer, although it is rare and significantly less common than breast cancer in women.

According to research, male breast cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all tumors in men. However, the number of disease incidences has increased in the last few years.

Every person is born with breast tissue. In women, this tissue develops. In men, it generally does not. However, it stays in the body and can therefore become cancerous.

The most frequently diagnosed breast cancer types in men are the same as the most common in women:

  • Invasive ductal carcinoma, which begins in the ducts before spreading to other areas of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also metastasize to other, more distant regions of the body.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma, which develops in the lobules and spreads into the nearby breast tissue.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a type of breast disease that can lead to breast cancer. With DCIS, cancerous cells are confined to the lining of the ducts and have not spread to other areas of breast tissue.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men?

The most commonly reported symptoms in men with breast cancer include the following:

  • A painless lump in the breast
  • Swelling in the breast
  • Red or flaking skin in the breast area
  • Dimpling on the breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Pain in the nipple area

Men experiencing one or more of the above symptoms do not necessarily have breast cancer. In addition, other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Concerned individuals should visit their doctor for further information.

What Are the Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer?

Several risk factors – including genetic and environmental risk factors – can increase some men’s likelihood of developing breast cancer. These risk factors include:

  • Age. Men over 50 are more likely to receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Conditions affecting the testicles. Men who have experienced a significant injury or swelling in the testicles or have had the testicles surgically removed are at a higher risk for breast cancer.
  • Family history. Men with a close family member (mother, father, sibling) that developed breast cancer are at an increased risk of the disease.
  • Genetic mutations. Inherited mutations in particular genes can increase breast cancer risk. This includes mutations to BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  • Hormone therapy. Drugs that contain estrogen, a hormone that helps people develop and maintain female characteristics, can increase a person’s chance of getting breast cancer.
  • Klinefelter syndrome. Men with an extra X chromosome have the rare genetic condition Klinefelter syndrome. This can cause the body to produce elevated levels of estrogen and lower levels of androgens, the hormones that help people develop and maintain male characteristics.
  • Liver disease. Scarring on the liver can reduce androgen levels and heighten estrogen levels in men, putting them at a higher chance of breast cancer.
  • Overweight. Men who are older and overweight are more likely to develop breast cancer than men at an average weight.
  • Radiation therapy. Men who have undergone radiation therapy to the chest area may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

How Is Breast Cancer in Men Treated?

Breast cancer in men is treated the same way as it is in women. In a conventional oncology context, treatments include surgery (the preferred surgical therapy is modified radical or simple mastectomy), radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. However, some patients seek alternative and holistic treatment options that preserve and strengthen the immune system rather than sabotage it.

Holistic Treatments for Men with Breast Cancer

A cancer diagnosis is never welcome news. The future can be daunting if you or a loved one has developed breast cancer. Conventional treatments can significantly reduce the quality of life, leading to pain, discomfort, fatigue, and other unwanted symptoms. There is another way.

At Brio-Medical, we treat cancers holistically and leverage cutting-edge, science-backed therapies that target cancer’s natural weaknesses while empowering the body’s natural healing processes. We treat every patient as an individual with a unique set of needs, wants, and challenges, so they can make informed decisions and reclaim control of their health and vitality.

You can learn more about our alternative oncology and cancer treatment options. If you would like personalized advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our patient care coordinators. They are on call and ready to discuss your next steps.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer? FAQs

What are the signs of breast cancer in a man?

Symptoms of breast cancer in men include a lump or swelling in the breast, redness or flaky skin in the breast, nipple discharge, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, or pain in the nipple area.

Can a male get breast cancer?

Although breast cancer is much more common in women, men do have a small amount of breast tissue and can develop breast cancer.

What does a male breast cancer lump feel like?

A lump that feels like a hard knot or a thickening in the breast or under the arm. If there is a small amount of breast tissue, it may be easier to feel a small lump. Any new irregularity on the skin or nipple, such as redness, scaliness, puckering, or a discharge from the nipple.

Can you survive male breast cancer?

The 5-year relative survival rate for male breast cancer in the U.S. is 82%. The survival rates for male breast cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age, and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.



Meet the Author

Brio-Medical, Scottsdale AZ, is a natural, holistic, and integrative expert in the cancer field. He is the medical director at Brio Medical, a holistic, integrative cancer healing center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Brio-Medical received his Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Tech University and his Doctor of Medicine from LSU Health Sciences Center. He is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and served as the Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee. Brio-Medical is a Fellow in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, is a medical Advisor for NEO7 Bioscience and has been named as the President of the North American Society of Laser Therapy Applications (NASLTA).

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