When most men think about breast cancer, they think about it in terms of the women in their life. But did you know men can also get breast cancer?
Even though men typically don’t develop breasts like women, they still have breast tissue. And in some men, cancer may develop in this tissue over time.
Your chances of developing breast cancer are low. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk for men developing breast cancer is about 1 in 833. However, when men are diagnosed with breast cancer, it tends to be more advanced. Often this is because men are unaware of their level of risk or don’t recognized symptoms.
Factors that may increase a man’s risk of developing breast cancer include:
- Aging – Just like women, men’s risk for breast cancer increases with age.
- High estrogen levels – Having more estrogen stimulates breast cell growth, which can lead to the development of breast cancer in men. Higher estrogen levels in men can be due to a number of factors including taking hormonal medications, obesity, heavy alcohol use, smoking marijuana and liver disease.
- Family history – Having a first-degree relative with breast cancer significantly increases a man’s risk – especially if that relative is male.
- Klinefelter Syndrome – This rare condition leads to men having lower levels of androgens and higher levels of estrogen – both of which increases a man’s risk for breast cancer.
- Radiation exposure – Especially to the chest area
If you’re at a higher risk for developing male breast cancer, one of the best things you can do for your health is to educate yourself about the disease and potential symptoms that may develop. If you notice a lump, breast swelling, skin dimpling, or nipple pain and discharge, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention so you can get the appropriate breast cancer screening tests.
Edward-Elmhurst Health provides the full spectrum of breast cancer screenings including mammogram, ultrasound and breast MRI. Our multidisciplinary approach means every patient works with a care team that includes a surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, nurse navigator and social worker. We work with you to ensure the highest quality care and better outcomes.