Breast cancer has often been associated with women since the number of women affected by it is really high. But, oncologists point out that breast cancer also occurs in men and lack of awareness is very high here. Dr Radheshyam Naik, Senior Medical Oncologist at HCG Hospitals answers questions on breast cancer in males and why it is high time to take it seriously.
Can men also get breast cancer?
Yes, men are prone to breast cancer just like women. There is a very small quantity of breast tissue in men compared to women. But just like any other organ, cancer can creep in there.
How common is breast cancer in men?
Out of all cases of breast cancers, 1% occurs in males. But even that 1% needs serious treatment or might turn life-threatening.
What are the symptoms to check on? Lump in the breast region, unusual growth, ulcer and foul smell are the most common symptoms of breast cancer in males. Any symptom checked early is better.
Is male breast cancer hereditary?
Though not a heredity factor, a history of breast cancer in the family means more chances of developing one. If the mother of a man had breast cancer his chances of developing cancer is more than others. But, the overall occurrence is lesser in men that one should be alert, but not panic.
Other than family history, what should men, in general, watch out for to avoid breast cancer?
Anyone who has tested positive for BRCA mutation should be alert as the chances of them developing breast cancer is more. This mutation is found only through a blood test and is very rare.
Who are at high risk of breast cancer?
Middle-aged men between the age group of 40 to 60 are the ones walking in with breast cancer. Gynecomastia, an increase in the amount of breast gland tissues in men is quite common in this age bracket. Also, a history of breast cancer in the family, obesity, bad lifestyle are also told to be reasons that alleviate the cancerous cells.
What are the treatments for male breast cancer?
Chemotherapy followed by shrinking of tissue, surgical removal of cancer tissue and radiation therapy with hormone therapy is the treatment strategy. There will be follow-ups at regular intervals but is curable.
Does breast cancer in males spread to other organs?
Very much. Most patients reach hospital only in the third or fourth stage of cancer and cancer would have spread to neighbouring organs like the neck, chest cavity, liver, lungs and sometimes even brain. Since the volume of breast tissue is less, the internal spread of the cancer is more in male breast cancer cases.
How to prevent breast cancer in men?
Following a healthy lifestyle is the key to avoid any ailments. But, early diagnosis can save life and health in male breast cancer patients. Any change in the organ how big or small, seeing a physician rather than popping over the counter medications is to be taken seriously.