Breast cancer in men is a rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Both boys and girls have breast tissue. The various hormones in girls' and women's bodies stimulate the breast tissue to grow into full breasts. Boys' and men's bodies normally don't make much of the breast-stimulating hormones. As a result, their breast tissue usually stays flat and small. Though breast cancer is commonly a woman’s disease, it can also occur in men. Male breast cancer is more common in older men but not restricted to any age.
If you notice any regular changes to your breasts, consult a doctor immediately. Some symptoms to look out for include:
Diagnosis of male breast cancer Diagnosis of male breast cancer
involves the following procedures:
- Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Images are clicked of the breast after it is compressed between two glass plates. A radiologist will examine the pictures for any abnormality.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. If an abnormality is detected during mammography, then ultrasound is the best way to find whether the abnormality is solid or fluid-filled.
- Nipple discharge examination: A sample of your nipple discharge may be collected and examined under a microscope to check for the presence of cancer cells.
- Biopsy: A biopsy differentiates between a normal tissue and cancer tissue. If cancer is present, it helps your doctor determine the size, type, and kind of breast cancer. Biopsies are performed when the doctor is suspicious of any abnormality.
In order to select the best treatment option, your doctor considers your cancer's stage, your overall health and your preferences. In most cases of male breast cancer, surgery is performed along with other treatments.
- Surgery: The aim of surgery is to remove the tumor and surrounding breast tissue in one of the two processes, i.e. removal of breast tissue and surrounding lymph nodes (modified radical mastectomy) and removal of one lymph node for testing (sentinel lymph node biopsy).
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. In male breast cancer radiation therapy may be used post surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells in the breast, chest muscles or armpit.
- Chemotherapy: Different drugs are used in chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. These medications may be administered intravenously, orally or by both methods. Chemotherapy is usually given after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
- Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy for male breast cancer often involves the medication tamoxifen, which is also used for women. This therapy is recommended by the doctor when male breast cancer has tumors that are hormone-sensitive.