Information & Support
Understanding the risk factors that can lead to a male breast cancer diagnosis
Male Breast Cancer Risk Factors
There are many factors to consider regarding your risk, such as family history, genetics, lifestyle, diet and nutrition, stress, weight, and exercise. All of these must be considered. The problem is, that most of the information regarding these calculations is based on a female’s risk, but the same factors should be discussed and applied to the male.
The average man in the United States has a risk factor of 0.1% of developing Breast Cancer in a lifetime. This rate increases in men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to 1-5% with BRCA1 and 5-10% with BRCA2 (see more information regarding Genetics on the Genetics page).
Understanding the risk factors associated with male breast cancer can help identify those at higher risk and enable early detection. Common risk factors include:
Age: Male breast cancer is more common in older men, with the majority of cases occurring after the age of 60.
Family History: A family history of breast cancer, especially among close relatives like a mother, sister, daughter, or other men, increases the risk.
BRCA Gene Mutations: Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, typically known for increasing breast cancer risk in women, also raise the risk for men.
Klinefelter Syndrome: Men with Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by an extra X chromosome, have an elevated risk.
Exposure to Radiation: Prior exposure to high doses of radiation, such as during cancer treatment, can increase the risk.
Liver Disease: Certain liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, can lead to hormonal imbalances that increase the risk of male breast cancer.
Estrogen Exposure: Conditions or treatments that increase estrogen levels in men, such as obesity or estrogen therapy, can be a risk factor.
See this checklist for risk factors for Hereditary Breast Cancer
Have you or any family member (male or female) had breast cancer?
Has Breast Cancer occurred in more than one relative on the same side of the family?
Has any man in your family had breast cancer?
Has Breast Cancer been diagnosed in you or a family member earlier than 50 years of age?
Do you have an “Ashkenazi Jewish” (central or eastern Europe) heritage with a personal or family history of breast cancer?
Does anyone in your family have a history of pancreatic, color, early-age prostate cancer or melanoma?