Male Breast Cancer
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Male breast cancer facts
- What is male breast cancer?
- How common is male breast cancer?
- What are causes and risk factors of male breast cancer?
- What are the different types of male breast cancer?
- What are male breast cancer symptoms and signs?
- How is male breast cancer diagnosed?
- What is staging of male breast cancer?
- What is the medical treatment options for male breast cancer?
- What health care specialists treat male breast cancer?
- What is the outcome (prognosis) of male breast cancer? What is the survival rate for male breast cancer?
- Is it possible to prevent male breast cancer?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
Male breast cancer facts
- Male breast cancer is rare and accounts for only about 1% of all breast cancers.
- Breast cancer risk in men is increased by elevated levels of estrogen, previous radiation exposure, and a family history of breast cancer.
- Mutations in specific genes including BRCA1 and BRCA2 are associated with an increase in risk for breast cancer in men.
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most common type of male breast cancer.
- A lump beneath the nipple is the most common clinical symptom of male breast cancer.
- Male breast cancer is staged (reflecting the extent of tumor spread) identically to breast cancer in women.
- Surgery is the most common initial treatment for male breast cancer. Depending on the situation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormonal therapy are also considered as part of the care plan. Clinical trials may also be available for men with breast cancer.
- The prognosis of male breast cancer, like breast cancer in women, is predominantly influenced by tumor stage.
- The prognosis for early-stage breast cancer in men is favorable, with five-year survival rates of 100% for stage 0 and stage 1 tumors.
What is male breast cancer?
Men possess a small amount of nonfunctioning breast tissue (breast tissue that cannot produce milk) that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth with the potential for spread of some of the cells of this breast tissue. These cells become so abnormal in appearance and behavior that they are then called cancer cells.
Breast tissue in healthy young boys and girls consists of tubular structures known as ducts. At puberty, a girl's ovaries produce female hormones (estrogen) that cause the ducts to grow and milk glands (lobules) to develop at the ends of the ducts. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the breast also increases as girls go through puberty. On the other hand, male hormones (such as testosterone) secreted by the testes suppress the growth of breast tissue and the development of lobules. The male breast, therefore, is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.
How common is male breast cancer?
Male breast cancer is a rare medical condition, accounting for only about 1% of all breast cancers. Statistics from the American Cancer Society suggest that yearly, about 2,600 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed and that breast cancer causes approximately 440 deaths in men (in comparison, almost 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year). Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age. A man's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1/10 of 1%, or one in 1,000. Breast cancer incidence rates in men have remained fairly stable over the past 30 years.
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