Debunking The Myth- Breast Cancer Can Occur In Men Too

When we say breast cancer, the first thing to hit the mind is a female patient. And the reason is quite apparent- the disease primarily attacks women. However, saying that men don't have breast cancer would be ignorant, to say the least. Though the cases of disorder diagnosed in men are comparatively very less than women, the diseases can still attack a male. According to research, in the United States, almost one percent out of total breast cancer cases are in men. 

Breast cancer is a malignant type of cancer that begins in the breast tissue, and since men have breast tissue too, they can also get breast cancer. Breast cancer begins when the cells in the breast start showing abnormal growth. These uncontrolled cells lead to the development of the tumor.

Debunking The Myth- Breast Cancer Can Occur In Men Too

The primary cause of the low incidence rate of breast cancer in men is due to the small amount of breast tissue and a difference in the hormonal environment. Though the number of breast tissues in men are quite less but changes in the factors are quite similar. Until puberty, both girls and boys have a small number of breast tissues that contain few ducts. At puberty, the ovaries in girls make female hormones that cause the breast tissue and ducts to grow. But since men have a low level of female hormones, the breast tissue doesn’t grow much. The breast tissues in men have tubes but only in few.

Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer In Men

  • Lump or thickening in the breast
  • Itchy rash on the nipple
  • Change in the size and shape of a breast
  • Discharge from nipple

Breast cancer can begin in any part of the breast; most often it begins in the ducts. Breast cancer can be spread to other parts of the body when the cancer cells get into the blood or lymph system and are carried to other parts of the body. The breast cancer cells can enter the lymph vessels and start to grow in lymph nodes.

Types of breast cancer

There are many types of breast cancer but the most common type are ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, and invasive lobular carcinoma. Most often breast cancers are carcinomas and the most common type of carcinomas is adenocarcinoma. This type of carcinoma begins in cells that make glands.  There are many other types of breast cancer as well but they are relatively less common.

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Risk factors of Breast cancer in men

Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing breast cancer in men are as follows:

1. Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is a medical term used for an enlargement of the male breast tissue. It is a disease which is defined as a benign enlargement of the male mammary glands which results from an imbalance in free estrogen and androgen activity. The imbalance of estrogenic and androgenic effects on the breast is the main cause of gynecomastia and it can further result in an increased action of estrogen on breast tissue. In patients having gynecomastia, there is an increased risk of breast cancer.

Gynecomastia is not a tumor, rather it is a benign enlargement of the breast. Usually, men have too little breast tissue to be felt, gynecomastia is characterized by disk-like growth that occurs under the nipple.

2. Klinefelter’s syndrome

Klinefelter’s syndrome is a common genetic disorder in men which is characterized by reduced function of testes.  Klinefelter’s syndrome is one of the most common causes of hypogonadism or low testosterone level in the body. Testosterone is the most important androgen or male sex hormone, that is needed for overall male health. Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome have insufficient production of androgen and high level of estrogens i.e female hormones. As a result,  Klinefelter’s syndrome contributes to the development of Gynecomastia and breast cancer.

3. Obesity

Obesity is also a common risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Obesity is one of the health concerns as millions of people are suffering from obesity. Obesity is not a single disease but a disease which is associated with many other diseases. Obesity is a risk factor for many other serious disorders, including breast cancer.

Obesity is defined as a condition which is characterized by the accumulation of excessive fat in the body to an extent that it starts to have a negative impact on the body.  In men who are overweight, the fat cells in the body convert the male hormones into female hormones and increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

4. Genetics

Genetics can also be considered to be a risk factor for breast cancer in men. The risk of developing breast cancer increases in men who have a family history of breast cancer. Men who have mutation defect are at high risk.

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