While women face a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer, men have a one in 1,000 chance. Only 1 percent of breast cancer cases are made up of men. Many people think that men can't get the disease because they do not have breasts. They do, however, have breast tissue and therefore have a chance of developing breast cancer.
Types of cancer men can have
Men can have many of the same types of breast cancer that women have.
- Paget disease of the nipple: A tumor grows in the ducts underneath the nipple and extends out to the nipple surface.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: Also known as intraductal carcinoma, ductal carinoma in situ occurs when cancerous cells form in the duct lining.
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: This is the most common type of breast cancer in men. It occurs when the disease is in the lining ducts of the breast and beyond.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A man with this kind of cancer will experience symptoms like a swollen breast that is red and warm to the touch.
Most breast cancer that is found in men is diagnosed between ages 60 and 70. Common symptoms that lead the man to seek a physician's help include sores around the nipple area, enlarged underarm lymph nodes, an inverted nipple, nipple pain or discharge, and a lump in the breast area. According to Breastcancer.org, the average time between the first symptom and a diagnosis of male breast cancer is around 19 months. This is likely because many people don't realize breast cancer is possible in men.
Male breast cancer usually requires treatment. Doctors take the size and location of the tumor into consideration, and the patient then undergoes surgery on the breast or lymph nodes, hormonal, radiation or chemotherapy or other forms of targeted therapy, like Herceptin or Avastin.