Even in current era, there is a lack of awareness regarding male breast cancer. Although men are less likely to get the disease, they may develop breast cancer and may not realise that they have this condition until a late stage. The early detection of breast cancer in men is extremely difficult as social stigma, in addition to lack of awareness, may keep men from approaching their doctor.
Here, you can learn more about male breast cancer symptoms and risks associated with the disease for men. You may not be able to prevent cancer, but you can prevent it from progressing further and becoming a life-threatening disease.
Common myths about breast cancer
Here are some of the common debunked myths about breast cancer:
- Only women get breast cancer
Men can also get breast cancer as they have some breast tissue in their chest, but the chances of this happening are fairly less.
- You will not have breast cancer if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer
You can still get breast cancer even if you don’t have a relative with the disease.
- Using antiperspirants for underarms and wearing underwired bras can cause breast cancer
There is no credible research to prove this myth.
Signs of breast cancer in men
Breast cancer symptoms in men are similar to those seen in women. Since men do not go for regular mammograms, the early diagnosis of breast cancer in men is a bit difficult. Usually, men approach their doctors on noticing the physical signs of breast cancer and are recommended to visit a breast cancer hospital to confirm the diagnosis. Here are some of the common signs of male breast cancer:
- A lump or thickening in or around the breast
- Changes in the breast skin’s or nipple’s texture and colour, such as puckering, redness, dimpling, or scaling
- Bloody or clear-fluid discharge from the nipple
- Breast pain, sensitivity, or tenderness
- Inverted nipple that goes in the breast tissue and does not stick out
- Pulling sensation in the breast
You should visit a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or other irregularities in your breast area or armpits. Please note that these symptoms can be caused due to other health problems such as cysts in breasts and benign breast tumour. A breast cancer specialist or other doctor can confirm the diagnosis based on tests; thus, avoid jumping to conclusions and do not start any medication.
Risk factors of breast cancer in men
Anyone can get breast cancer regardless of their gender, but women are more likely to develop this disease. The following are some of the risk factors of male breast cancer:
- The risk increases with increasing age, and men over the age of 60 years are highly likely to get breast cancer.
- Men who are overweight have a high chance of developing breast cancer as they may have gynecomastia (lump-like enlarged male breast tissue).
- Increased oestrogen levels in a male lead to an increase in the chance of them developing breast cancer.
- Strong family history of breast cancer or other types of cancer increase the likelihood of you getting breast cancer.
- If you have inherited some mutated genes that are linked with cancer, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, your chances of getting breast cancer increase.Men who have had their testicles removed through surgery have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Outlook for patients
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be quite overwhelming for men and may even affect their mental health. Thus, it is important that you seek support groups and other men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to communicate with them.
The early diagnosis of breast cancer in males is extremely difficult because they may dismiss any changes in their breasts due to embarrassment. Thus, being aware of the early signs of breast cancer in males can help in the timely detection of any breast tumours and getting started with the right breast cancer care plan.
How does a male know if he has breast cancer?
Only a doctor can confirm the diagnosis of breast cancer after conductive thorough tests, but knowing the male breast cancer symptoms can prompt you to visit the doctor.
What are the basic symptoms of breast cancer in men?
The most common symptoms include lumps (may be breast tumours), changes in the texture and appearance of the breast and nipples, and discharge from nipples.
What are the seven warning signs of breast cancer?
Here are some male breast cyst symptoms that one shouldn’t ignore:
• Swelling in the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bones
• Swelling in one part of the breast or all over the breast area
• Nipple or breast pain
• Nipple inversion
• Dimpling of the breast and/or nipple skin
• Nipple discharge
• Scaling, thickening, or redness of the breast and/or nipple skin
What cancer symptoms shouldn’t be ignored?
You should never ignore lumps in the breast or armpit as they are one of the first recognisable symptoms of breast cancer. You should also not ignore nipple discharge as it usually indicates a severe health problem.
If you notice any changes in your breasts, you should visit the doctor to eliminate the possibility of breast cancer.