While breast cancer occurs mainly in women, men can get it too, because men also have breast tissue. Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.

Male breast cancer is most common in older men, though it can occur at any age. Men diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage have a good chance for a cure. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the breast tissue. Other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may be recommended based on your particular situation.

Types of Breast Cancer in Men

The most common types of breast cancer are ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, andinvasive lobular carcinoma.

Most breast cancers are carcinomas. In fact, breast cancers are often a type of carcinoma called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells that make glands (glandular tissue). Breast adenocarcinomas start in the ducts (the milk ducts) or the lobules (milk-producing glands).

There are other, less common, types of breast cancers, too, such as sarcomas, phyllodes, Paget’s disease and angiosarcomas which start in the cells of the muscle, fat, or connective tissue.

Sometimes a single breast tumor can be a combination of different types. And in some very rare types of breast cancer, the cancer cells may not form a lump or tumor at all.

Symptoms can include:

  • A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue
  • Changes to the skin covering your breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
  • Changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward
  • Discharge from your nipple

 

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your health professional for guidance.

Sources: Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org); Cancer.org

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