Breaking the Silence: Understanding Breast Cancer in Men
Breast cancer is often associated with women, but did you know that men can also develop breast cancer? It’s a rare occurrence but still a serious disease that needs proper understanding and attention. According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,650 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2021, and around 530 men will die from this disease. In this article, we’re breaking the silence about breast cancer in men, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.
The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a lump in the breast. This can be painless or painful, and it may or may not be visible. Other symptoms include:
• Nipple discharge
• Nipple inversion (a nipple that points inward instead of outward)
• Changes in the size or shape of the breast
• Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
• Ulceration or bleeding from the nipple or breast skin
Breast cancer in men is caused by uncontrolled growth of the breast cells. It’s still unclear why this happens, but there are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer in men, including:
• Age, the incidence of breast cancer increases as men get older.
• Family history of breast cancer in first-degree relatives (mother, father, sister, or brother)
• Inherited gene mutations like BRCA1 and BRCA2 that can increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancers.
• Radiation exposure
• Liver disorders, like cirrhosis, can reduce male hormones and increase the risk of breast cancer.
• Klinefelter’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that results in smaller testicles, reduced male hormones, and increased estrogen levels.
Diagnosing breast cancer in men can be difficult because of the rarity of this disease. But the diagnostic tests used for women, like mammograms, breast ultrasound, and breast biopsy, can also be used for men. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and some tests to check for lumps, nipple discharge, or any other suspicious signs.
The treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to that for women but may differ depending on the stage of cancer and other factors. Surgery to remove the tumor is often the first treatment, followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, your doctor may suggest a combination of treatments.
Breast cancer may be less common in men, but it’s essential to understand the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options. Men too should examine their breasts for any suspicious changes and consult their doctor as soon as possible. Early detection can lead to better treatment outcomes and a higher chance of survival. Breaking the silence and spreading awareness about breast cancer in men can save lives. Let’s start talking!