11 Factors That Put You at Risk for Male Breast Cancer
You may have heard about breast cancer genes in women. Some of these genes also appear to increase the risk of breast cancer in men. For instance, the BRCA2 gene significantly increases a man's risk for breast cancer.
While it makes sense that many men with these breast cancer genes have a strong family history of the disease, sometimes men have these genes and develop breast cancer even without a family history of it.
It's no secret that radiation increases the risk for cancer, which is exactly why you have to wear that heavy apron to protect your body every time you get dental x-rays. Men who have been exposed to chest radiation have a higher risk for breast cancer. Typically, this radiation occurs intentionally, usually to treat a different cancer in the chest area.
Sometimes, a healthy dose of perspective is in order. It's important to keep in mind that most men with risk factors for breast cancer will never develop it. Although these risk factors increase the chance for developing male breast cancer, the baseline (average) risk is so small that overall, even an increased risk is still small.
When should you be concerned? Certainly, if you have a lump or any other symptoms of breast cancer, you'll want to have your doctor check it out sooner rather than later. What if you don't have any symptoms but are still concerned about your risk? Don't hesitate to ask your doctor at your next checkup.