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Male Breast Cancer

Integrative Treatment Options for All Stages of Male Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer Treatment Center

Male breast cancer is far less common than breast cancer in women—it makes up about 1% of breast cancer cases in the US. But it’s still a serious disease impacting thousands of men each year. Also, cases have been rising over the last several decades. The incidence of male breast cancer increased by 40% from 1975 to 2015.

While the numbers are small when compared to incidence rates for other types of cancer, this is still a potentially lethal disease. Read on to learn everything you need to know about male breast cancer, including signs and symptoms, risk factors, and possible treatments.

What Is Male Breast Cancer?

Male breast cancer is a growth of abnormal cells that forms in the breast tissue of men. It primarily affects older males—according to the CDC, from 2013 to 2017, over 90% of cases and nearly 95% of deaths were in men aged 50 or older.

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Male breast cancer is usually diagnosed at a later stage than female breast cancer. As such, it’s often characterized by a larger tumor size, lymph node involvement, and distant metastases. Also, the five-year survival rate is slightly lower.

Types of Male Breast Cancer

There are three main types of male breast cancer. As with female breast cancer, the different types are based on the molecular receptor status of the cancer cells.

  • HER2-positive breast cancers have higher than normal levels of the HER2 protein. This protein promotes cell growth and division.
  • Triple-negative breast cancer cells don’t recognize estrogen, progesterone, or the HER2 protein. As a result, there’s no molecular receptor for a cancer drug to interrupt, making it harder to treat with conventional methods.
  • Hormone-receptor-positive cancer cells recognize estrogen and progesterone—about 90% of male breast cancer cases are hormone-receptor-positive, and another 9% are both hormone-receptor-positive and HER2-positive.

What Are the Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer?

The symptoms of male breast cancer aren’t that different from those for breast cancer in women. Generally, the earliest sign is a lump in the breast. It can be a painless lump or a thickening of the breast tissue that creates a mass you can feel with your hands.

There also might be other changes to the breasts, such as:

  • Discharge from the nipple
  • An inverted nipple
  • Redness or scaling around the nipple
  • Changes to the skin that covers the breast, including redness, dimpling, and scaling

Unlike women, who are offered regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer, men aren’t routinely screened unless they have an increased risk. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor right away to find out what’s going on.

What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Men?

There are several factors that doctors believe increase a man’s risk for breast cancer. Many are similar to the risk factors for female breast cancer, although there are differences.

  • Inherited gene mutation: It’s estimated that anywhere from 4% to 40% of male breast cancer cases are caused by an inherited gene mutation (anywhere from 30% to 86% of breast cancer cases in women originate from a gene mutation). The main gene mutations associated with risk are BRCA1 and BRCA2. For a man that has the BRCA1 gene, the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1% to 5%. It’s 5% to 10% for BRCA2. For the general population, the lifetime risk is 0.1%.
  • Family history: The more direct family members with breast cancer, the higher the risk of developing breast cancer, whether you’re a man or a woman. For men, the risk doubles if they have a parent, sibling, or child with breast cancer. Having more than one family member increases the risk further.
  • Age: For men, old age increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Gynecomastia: Men who have enlarged breasts because of a hormone imbalance or as a side effect of taking certain medications are more likely to develop breast cancer.

Other possible risk factors include marijuana use, hepatic dysfunction, thyroid disease, and obesity. Men who take estrogen-containing medications are also at an increased risk.

Can Male Breast Cancer Be Treated Holistically?

Male breast cancer can be treated holistically. Patients can use non-toxic, holistic therapies alongside conventional treatment methods or alone.

Traditional treatments are similar to those for breast cancer in women. If the tumor is localized, doctors can surgically remove it. Other conventional options include chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted hormone therapy.

The problem with the conventional road to treating breast cancer is that cancer treatment drugs can have a toxic effect on the body, killing cancer cells and healthy cells. This can impact the body’s ability to recover, damage the immune system, and lead to side effects ranging from nausea to fatigue. Radiation therapy can also increase the risk of developing other types of cancer.

Holistic medicine offers an alternative pathway toward better health. A holistic physician works with the individual to create a customized cancer care plan. Care might include several non-toxic, non-invasive therapies that work together to strengthen the immune system, minimize symptoms and side effects, and help the body fight cancer.

Holistic treatment options for male breast cancer include:

Mistletoe IV therapy: Mistletoe has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. Studies show that mistletoe might help with increased cancer survival, tumor remission, and improving the overall quality of life, making it a useful tool in an integrative oncology treatment program.

Photo biomodulation therapy: This type of light therapy uses violet light to treat the body. The light photons are absorbed by the skin and then disperse through the body. This alternative therapy is known to help with several issues, including a hormone imbalance.

Ozone therapy: Ozone, which is a gas made of three oxygen molecules, has been shown to offer several health benefits that can help breast cancer patients. Ozone therapy is known to boost immunity, rejuvenate cells, and relieve pain.

To learn more about treatment options for breast cancer in men, contact the experienced team of holistic physicians and specialists at Brio-Medical. Whether you’re fighting male breast cancer and are looking for natural and effective treatment options, or you want to improve your health while undergoing traditional treatments, we’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation today.

References for male breast cancer:

[1] Gucalp, Ayca, et al. “Male breast cancer: a disease distinct from female breast cancer.” Breast cancer research and Treatment vol. 173,1 (2019): 37-48. doi:10.1007/s10549-018-4921-9

[2] Konduri, Santhi, et al. “Epidemiology of male breast cancer.” Breast (Edinburgh, Scotland) vol. 54 (2020): 8-14. doi:10.1016/j.breast.2020.08.010

[3] MD Anderson authors. “Male Breast Cancer.” MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Accessed September 23, 2022.

[4] Fentiman, Is. “Male breast cancer: a review.” Ecancermedicalscience vol. 3 (2009): 140. doi:10.3332/ecancer.2009.140

[5] Altun, İnsaf, and Alper Sonkaya. “The Most Common Side Effects Experienced by Patients Were Receiving First Cycle of Chemotherapy.” Iranian Journal of public health vol. 47,8 (2018): 1218-1219.

[6] Ng, John, and Igor Shuryak. “Minimizing second cancer risk following radiotherapy: current perspectives.” Cancer management and research vol. 7 1-11. 17 Dec. 2014, doi:10.2147/CMAR.S47220

[7] Kienle, G S et al. “Mistletoe in cancer - a systematic review on controlled clinical trials.” European Journal of medical research vol. 8,3 (2003): 109-19.

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