There are thousands of people who still live in an illusion that breast cancer is a women’s issue, because they think that men don’t have breast so there are no chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer. But, it’s time to bust the myth. The pink ribbon signifying breast cancer is not just restricted to women, though women are 100 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, yet it is also a fact that nearly 2,500 men were diagnosed with breast cancer every year globally.
But, why and how?
The truth is that all boys and girls, men and women have breast tissues. The various hormones in girls and women’s body that stimulate the breast tissue to grow into full breasts, while in boys’ and men’s body normally don’t produce much of the breast-stimulating hormones. As a result, their breast tissue stays flat and small. But, still, you may have seen boys and men with medium or big-sized breasts. Usually, these breasts are just mounds of fat. However, sometimes men may develop real breast gland tissue due to intake of certain medications or because of abnormal hormone levels.
It is essential to understand the risk factors for male breast cancer mainly because men are not routinely screened with breast cancer and don’t think about the possibility of being diagnosed with it.
A number of factors can increase a man’s risk of getting breast cancer, that includes:
- ● Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is about 68years.
- ● High estrogen levels: The presence of estrogen stimulates breast cell growth either normal or abnormal. Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of:
- 1. Taking hormonal medicines
- 2. Being overweight or obese, which increases the production of estrogen
- 3. Getting exposed to estrogens in the environment (Example: estrogen and other hormones that are fed to fatten up beef cattle or the breakdown products of the pesticide DDT, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body)
- 4. Being alcoholic, which limits the ability of the liver to regulate blood estrogen levels
- 5. Having liver disease, which leads to lower levels of androgens (male hormones) and higher levels of estrogen (female hormones). This increases the risk of developing gynecomastia (breast tissue growth that is non-cancerous) as well as breast cancer.
- ● Klinefelter syndrome: It is a chromosomal condition that impairs male physical and cognitive development that affects about 1 in 1,000 men. Men with Klinefelter syndrome have lower levels of androgens and higher levels of estrogen.
- ● Radiation exposure: Men treated with radiation to the chest, such as for lymphoma is at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- ● A strong family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in men:
- ● A lump or swelling, which is usually (but not always) painless
- ● Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- ● Skin dimpling or puckering
- ● Discharge from the nipple
- ● Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
One or all of the following tests might be performed to see if the problem is cancer after an abnormality of the breast is found.
- ● Mammogram
- ● Ultrasound
- ● Nipple discharge examination
- ● Biopsy
- a) Fine needle biopsy
- b) Stereotactic needle biopsy
- c) Incisional biopsy
- d) Excisional biopsy
- e) Lymph node biopsy
The treatment for breast cancer in men depends on certain factors such as the size and location of the breast tumor, the stage of the cancer, and results of other laboratory tests.
- ● Surgery
- ● Lymph Node Surgery
- ● Radiation Therapy
- ● Hormonal Therapy
- ● Chemotherapy
- ● Targeted Therapy
Cancers are curable and treatment, if diagnosed early and in this journey Apollo Cancer institutes is your ideal helping hand at every stage right from screening to curing breast cancer. As a forerunner in the treatment of breast cancer, Apollo Hospitals has performed over 50,000 breast surgeries, over the past two decades. Apollo represents the amalgamation of the finest talent, latest equipment and deep expertise in combating breast cancer. The team uses the best of surgical procedures, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy to deliver best-in-class outcomes. Apollo Hospitals strongly believes in cancer is conquerable and will not allow it to intervene between you and your life.
To book an online appointment with our best oncologist, log on to www.askapollo.com