Male breast cancer symptoms are often ignored because many people believe that men can’t get breast cancer. Men and women both have breast tissue, but the vast majority of men lack the hormones that cause the breast tissue to grow into full breasts. Male breast cancer is rare, with less than 1% of all breast cancers diagnosed in men. However, both women and men should note any breast changes and speak to a doctor to rule out breast cancer, or other conditions.
Male Breast Cancer Symptoms
Male breast cancer symptoms are the same as female breast cancer symptoms and include:
- Pain in the breast, on the nipple, or under the armpit
- A lump in the breast or under the armpit
- Nipple discharge
- Sores on the nipple
- Inversion of the nipple
Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer
- Age – the risk of breast cancer increases with age for both men and women
- Family history – if there is a history of breast cancer in the family, especially in another male, a man’s risk of breast cancer increases
- Hormonal imbalance – men with higher levels of estrogen and/or lower levels of androgens have an increased risk for developing male breast cancer
- Previous radiation exposure – radiation to the chest, particularly during childhood, may increase the risk for male breast cancer
Diagnosing Male Breast Cancer
If breast changes are noticed, a mammogram is likely to be recommended. During a mammogram, the breast tissue is compressed between two plates and imaged with an x-ray. A radiologist will read the images an issue a report. Sometimes, additional imaging studies, like a diagnostic mammogram or an ultrasound, are needed to obtain a different view or more detail.
What to Do if You Notice Breast Cancer Symptoms
Male breast cancer symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. If you notice breast changes, contact your doctor, who can order any necessary tests. It is important to diagnose and treat all types of cancer, including male breast cancer, at the earliest stages in order for the treatments to be most effective. Whether you’re a man or a woman, the experienced technologists at the Breast Center of Maple Grove can help you to feel comfortable throughout your breast imaging exam.