Male Breast Cancer
Although men are much less likely than women to develop breast cancer, it does occur in approximately one in thousand men. The American Cancer Society reports than an estimated 2,470 new cases of invasive male breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2017.
In our state-of-the-art facility at Beverly Hills Cancer Center, our physicians are fully equipped to provide cutting-edge male breast cancer treatment in one centralized location. We offer the most advanced care in a private boutique environment, at a standard that is a cut above any traditional hospital experience.
What Is Male Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that develops from cells of the breast. Before puberty, girls and boys alike have a small amount of breast tissue with a few ducts (tiny tubes that carry milk) located under the nipple and areola. Hormonal changes at puberty cause girls’ breasts to grow.
Male breast tissue does not increase as it does in females after puberty. It does contain ducts and may contain a few lobules (glands that produce milk if the right hormones are present). Men’s breast duct cells can become cancerous, as can any cell of the body. This disease is less common among men than women because men’s breast ducts are less developed.
Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer
As breast cancer is not limited to women, men need to know and watch for the symptoms. They may include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast (not usually painful)
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Scaling or redness of the nipple or breast skin
- Discharge from the nipple
- Retraction (turning inward) of the nipple
When breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes around the collar bone or under the arm, in some cases, swelling in the lymph nodes can be felt before the tumor on the breast is large enough to feel.
These changes in the breast can have other causes than breast cancer. Most breast lumps in men are caused by gynecomastia, an enlargement of the breast resulting from hormonal imbalance. Nevertheless, if you notice any of the above changes, it is important to see a doctor as soon possible.
Treatment for Male Breast Cancer
Treatment for male breast cancer is classified in several broad categories:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Bone directed therapy
How male breast cancer is treated depends on whether the cancer is noninvasive or invasive, which may also be referred to as local or systemic. Noninvasive breast cancer is in the earliest stage, occurring in a milk duct, and not yet spread out of the duct. It is treated by surgically removing the tumor, possibly followed by radiation and hormone therapy. Invasive breast cancer is treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, targeted drug therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
Types of Male Breast Cancer Surgery
Most men with breast cancer will have surgery as part of the treatment. Types of surgery performed to treat male breast cancer include:
- Lumpectomy or partial mastectomy: This is a breast-conserving surgery in which only the cancer and some of the surrounding normal breast tissue is removed. It is typically followed by radiation.
- Mastectomy: The entire breast is removed in this procedure, along with surrounding tissue in some cases. There are several different types of mastectomies, and the type of surgery performed will depend on the size of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread.
- Lymph node surgery: One or more of the lymph nodes under the arms may be removed and examined under a microscope to determine if the cancer has spread to the lymph system. This is an important factor in determining the appropriate treatment.
Your health is important to us at Beverly Hills Cancer Center. Our primary goal is to do everything possible to cure every patient’s cancer. If you have been diagnosed with male breast cancer, we will work diligently to design a treatment plan with maximum effectiveness and minimum discomfort for you.
- American Cancer Society: What are the Key Statistics About Breast Cancer in Men?
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