Male Breast Cancer: 12 Important Things You Should Know About
When it comes to health issues female breast cancer takes center stage being one of the prominent forms of cancer in the US and worldwide. But what about Male Breast Cancer? Not many speak about it, and yet breast cancer in men is a very real condition. It is, of course, a rare type of cancer that only affects 1 in 833 males worldwide as per the American Cancer Society but what’s worse is that it is often diagnosed in its later stages. Only by recognizing the male breast cancer symptoms and knowing the signs can one hope to get treated early. Detecting cancer makes treatment much easier but that never the case and 40% of males with breast cancer only receive a diagnosis in the 3rd and 4th stages of the disease.
1 Breast cancer in men is different than female breast cancer
Breast cancer in men is different from female breast cancer because of the smaller amount of breast tissue. It could be easier to detect lumps but because there is less tissue, cancer spreads to surrounding tissues instead. Late diagnosis of the disease makes survival rate of male breast cancer much lower than women. Here is all you need to know about male breast cancer.
2Male breast cancer symptoms
There are a number of symptoms of male breast cancer and these could include the following:
- Lump in one breast that is mostly painless
- Ulcerated nipples, male nipple discharge, nipple retraction
- Signs of dimpling in the breast
- Skin puckering
- Scaling and redness of skin visible on nipples or breast
- Swelling in underarm lymph nodes
- Bone pain or breast pain
- Statistics and survival rates
3Male breast cancer survival rates
As per the American Cancer Society, there can be a 5-year survival rate or even more after male breast cancer diagnosis. However, survival rates also depend on the stage of diagnosis and progression of the disease. The average figures for male breast cancer survival rates are as follows:
- 96% survival rate if only the breast tissues are affected at time of diagnosis
- 83% if nearby surrounding areas including breast is affected
- 23% when cancer has spread to other organs and tissues
The vast discrepancy in survival from 94% to 23% makes it necessary for men to remain aware and vigilant of the possibilities of male breast cancer and consult a specialist in time even when one of the male breast cancer symptoms are noticed. Cancer, when detected in early stages, responds well to medication and treatment.
Diagnostic methods and treatments have improved in the last few years, and so the chances of living for at least 5 years after diagnosis are probably higher than the above figures for people currently receiving a diagnosis.
4Male breast cancer tests and diagnosis
In recent years male breast cancer diagnosis techniques and male breast cancer treatment has vastly improved. A typical diagnosis will also include factors like personal and family medical history, use of estrogen history and history of any radiation treatment. Besides a physical examination a person will need a mammogram, ultrasound, nipple discharge test and a biopsy.
It is highly possible that is suspected cases of male breast cancer involving a lump, the doctor will advise removal of the lump including the biopsy. A part or the entire area may be removed including surrounding normal breast tissue.