Breast Cancer in Men
In men, risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Exposure to radiation
- Having a disease related to high levels of estrogen in the body, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or Klinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder)
- Having several female relatives who have had breast cancer, especially relatives who have an alteration of the BRCA2 gene.
Male breast cancer is sometimes caused by inherited genetic mutations. Most often, however, the cause of breast cancer is not known.
A doctor should be seen if changes in the breasts are noticed. Typically, men with breast cancer have lumps that can be felt.
A biopsy can be done to check for breast cancer. The following are different types of biopsies:
- Needle biopsy: The removal of part of a lump, suspicious tissue, or fluid using a thin needle. This procedure is also called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.
- Core biopsy: The removal of part of a lump or suspicious tissue using a wider needle.
- Excisional biopsy: The removal of an entire lump or suspicious tissue.
After the tissue or fluid has been removed, a pathologist (someone who studies diseases) views it under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
After breast cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the breast or to other parts of the body. This process is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of breast cancer in men. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment.
In men, breast cancer is staged the same as it is in women (see Stages of Breast Cancer). In addition, the spread of cancer from the breast to lymph nodes and other parts of the body appears to be similar in men and women.