Breast cancer is an incredibly common type of disease that impacts the lives of thousands of patients each year. Statistics say that 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in their lifetime, but it's important to remember that breast cancer does not only impact women. In fact, 1 in 833 men will also receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
It's important that we discuss the specifics of breast cancer in men, including the signs, symptoms, risk factors, screening, and treatment options. As with any form of cancer, early detection is key, and the more informed you are about breast cancer in men, the more likely you will identify the warning signs.
Can Men Get Breast Cancer?
It is sometimes assumed that because the male breast isn't exactly the same as female breasts, then it means that men can't have breast cancer. This is simply not true. The truth is, male breasts are similar to female breasts in that they can still contain breast tissue, milk ducts, and lobules. While men can't produce milk, the breast tissue that exists can still develop breast cancer just like any other cells in the body can.
Common Types of Breast Cancer in Men
Ductal Carcinoma - This form of breast cancer originates in the milk ducts. It also happens to be the most common type of breast cancer in men.
Lobular Carcinoma - This type of breast cancer originates in the milk-producing glands. It is rarer in men simply because men have fewer of these types of glands.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer - This type of cancer is characterized by cancer cells blocking the lymphatic vessels.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men
There are many signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men similar to the symptoms that women experience. Symptoms include:
Changes in the nipple's position (becoming inverted)
Crusting of the nipple
Discharge from your nipple. It's not uncommon for women to assume that discharge could be milk production, but because men can't produce milk, any type of discharge would be abnormal.
Lump in the armpit
Lumps in the breast
Redness or scaling of your nipple
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