Breast Cancer in Men: Statistics and Facts
Breast cancer in males is a rare occurrence: less than 1% of all breast cancer cases occur in men. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 833. However, just because it is rare doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and learning the facts and statistics about this condition can save lives.
Breast cancer may be considered by most as a female-only disease: after all, men don’t have breasts, right? Well, the truth is, all humans have breast tissue. The hormones in a woman’s body cause the tissue to develop into full breasts, whilst a man’s hormones don’t. Still, variances in hormones can cause men to develop small breasts, which are usually just muscle and fat. If males are taking certain medications or suffer from abnormal levels of hormones, they can develop breasts.
Whether full breasts are developed or not, the breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. It’s usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Mortality rates in male cases of breast cancer are actually higher than in women, mainly due to a lack of awareness - men with lumps in their breasts are unlikely to think it’s breast cancer, which causes a delay in seeking treatment.
That’s why it’s important to educate people on male breast cancer cases and statistics.
Signs and Symptoms
Male breast cancer exhibits the same signs and symptoms as breast cancer in women: a lump or unusual growth in the breast.
“If you notice anything strange about your breast tissue, you should go to the doctors immediately,” says Harry Monroe, a health writer at Boomessays and AustralianHelp. “Survival rates are high for breast cancer, given that it is detected early enough.”
The Risk Factors
The risk factors for male breast cancer are varied, but it’s important to understand them given that men are not usually routine-tested for the disease.
Some of the factors are:
Age: just as in women, the older a man is the more likely he is to be diagnosed with breast cancer. The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is 68 years old.
High estrogen levels: breast cell growth is caused by the presence of estrogen. Men can have unusually high amounts of estrogen as a result of medications, weight gain, being exposed to estrogens through food like beef, being heavy users of alcohol which limits the bodies ability to regulate estrogen levels, and liver disease.