Breast cancer in men: Warning signs and symptoms to look out for

Breast cancer in men: Warning signs and symptoms to look out for
Men, too, can have breast cancer: Symptoms to look out for

Breast cancer is most often found in women, but men can get breast cancer too. Read to know more about this condition and signs to look out for.

Written by Satata Karmakar |Updated : January 19, 2021 9:52 AM IST

Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer too. Yes, you read it right, men can suffer from breast cancer too. What is this condition? Well, male breast cancer is rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Males have a small amount of breast tissue in comparison with females. This can make it easier to detect small lumps, but it also means that cancer has less room to grow within the breast. As a result, it may spread more quickly to nearby tissues.

Breast Cancer In Men - Understanding The Basics

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.

Early Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer In Men Is Important

Male breast cancer is a relatively rare cancer but one that doctors often diagnosed in the later stages. Knowing how to recognize the signs can help a person get early treatment. Here are a few signs and symptoms that you should look out for.

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#Breast Lump

Symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those in women. Most male breast cancers are diagnosed when a man finds a lump on his chest.

#Redness Or Flaky Skin In The Breast

As said above, men too show similar symptoms of breast cancer to women. One of the most common is lump formation and the second most common symptom is redness around the nipple area or sudden dryness leading to flaky skin.

#Nipple Discharge

You might notice stains on your shirt and may credit it to coffee or tea stains at times, but if the tinge always appears on the same side of the chest, then it could be nipple discharge. You certainly need to be more aware now! It happens because the fluid from the tumour builds up and leaks out of the nipple.

#Changes In Your Nipples

As the tumour grows, it pulls the ligaments inside the breast, which causes the nipple to reverse or become dented. In some cases, you will also see dry, scaly skin in the area with the inverted nipple.

#Open Sores On Nipples Is A Sign Of Male Breast Cancer

In extreme cases, you may develop an open sore on the nipple because the tumour almost grows through the skin. You might have ignored cancer for too long and that s the reason for it! Since men have less breast tissue, tumour has the tendency to push through the skin. The sore will look like a picked pimple!

Types Of Breast Cancer In Men

There are three types of breast cancer that a man may suffer from.

- He may get either ductal carcinoma, cancer that begins in the milk ducts,

- Or, lobular carcinoma, cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands. Most male breast cancer is ductal carcinoma. Lobular carcinoma is rare in men because they have few lobules in their breast tissue.

- Or, he may be diagnosed with other rarer types of breast cancer. These are Paget's disease of the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer.

Now, let's understand what are the risk factors of breast cancer in men.

#Exposure To Radiation

Exposure to radiation of the chest (lung cancer or lymphoma) can be a risk factor for breast cancer in men. This is because radiation can trigger the normal cells to become cancerous cells.

#Are You Suffering From Gynecomastia?

If you suffer from gynecomastia, a condition that causes enlargement of the breasts in men (also known as man boobs), you might be at risk. It is usually due to drugs, hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons.

#Liver Ailments Can Raise The Risk Of Cancer In Men Too

Did you know severe liver disease (or liver cirrhosis) can increase the risk of breast cancer in men? This could be because liver cirrhosis causes an increase in the hormonal levels of oestrogen, which puts you at risk of breast cancer.

Apart from these, genetic conditions are also an important risk factor for male breast cancer. According to the experts, a rare genetic condition called Klinefelter's syndrome, a condition in which a male is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome (47, XXY) then you might be at risk of breast cancer.

What can be done? Early detection can help prevent the spread of cancer. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer increases the chances of getting early treatment.