Most of society in general views breast cancer as a disease suffered only by women. Although women are 100 times more likely then men to develop breast cancer, breast cancer in men still takes the lives of over 400 men each year. The odds of men getting breast cancer in their life time is estimated at about 1 in every 1000.
The most common forms of breast cancer in men are:
Infiltrating Ductal carcinoma, a form of cancer that develops in the ducts, then spreads or infiltrates the surrounding tissue.
Ductal carcinoma in situ, cancer that begins and remains in the ducts. Ductal Carcinoma in situ (in place) is a non invasive cancer.
Cystosarcoma Phylloides, cancer affecting the connective tissue surrounding the ducts.
Paget’s disease of the nipple, a rare form of breast cancer that starts on the surface of the nipple, it is often accompanied by an underlying cancer.
Male breast tissue is susceptible to any and all of these forms of breast cancer. All forms of breast cancer, in men or women, can travel (metastases) to the lymph nodes and other distant parts of the body. Therefore breast cancer in men is just as dangerous as it is for women. Unfortunately, breast cancer in men is often left untreated until it reaches it later stages. Men are not taught to do self breast exams or to be aware of changes in their breast tissue. When a lump or change in the nipple is found, unlike women who immediately think of breast cancer, it is usually the last thing men consider.
The most prevalent symptoms of breast cancer in men are:
Changes in the nipple such as dimpling, puckering, redness and scaling, or a clear or bloody discharge.
Flattening of the nipple and the nipple becoming inverted.
A firm and painless lump usually below the nipple area
Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arm
If the cancer has metastasized the suffer most often notices increased tiredness, weakness, and weight loss as well as pain at the site of the metastases.
Breast cancer in men is usually diagnosed with a fine needle biopsy, a sample of tissue is draw out through a needle. Other options include an incisional, a small piece of affected tissue is removed and an excisional, removing the entire mass of suspicious tissue. Once a positive diagnosis is made other techniques, CAT scans, MRI, and ultrasound, may all be introduced to check for and evaluate possible sites of metastases.
Treatment for breast cancer in men is carried out much the same as it is for women. After diagnosis and staging, men may undergo either a mastectomy or a lumpectomy surgery. Depending on the type, location and stage of the cancer adjuvant treatment may also be necessary. Some common forms of adjuvant treatment are:
The outcome of breast cancer in men depends largely on the size and stage of the cancer and the patients overall health. Early detection is a key factor in receiving the most effective treatments and the best possible prognosis.