Warning: Men Get Breast Cancer Too!

Symptoms of Breast Cancer in Men

Typically, men with breast cancer have a lump that can be felt. However, because men don't do breast self-exams, often the lump goes unnoticed until it hurts. This typically occurs after an injury. The man might assume the lump was caused by the injury, but may grow concerned when the lump doesn't go away.
Other symptoms might include:
  • Leaking from a nipple
  • Nipple pain
  • Sores on or around the nipple
  • An inverted nipple
  • Lumps in the armpit area.
Do you have enlargement in both breasts? That problem (known as gynecomastia) is not a symptom of breast cancer. While you can breathe a sigh of relief in that regard, do be sure to see your doctor about it to get to the bottom of what is causing the gynecomastia.
Have a lump? It's time to see your doctor about it. It may be nothing, in which case your mind can be put at ease. If it does turn out to be cancer, however, realize that breast cancer is more treatable when it is caught early.

Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer

Why do some men develop breast cancer? It's often difficult to point out a specific cause, but there are certain risk factors that increase a man's chances for developing it. Common ones include:
  • Aging (most men with breast cancer are older)
  • Family history (especially a first-degree male or female relative with breast cancer -- father, uncle, brother)
  • Genetic mutations (such as the BRCA2 gene and others)
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Radiation exposure
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Liver disease
  • Estrogen treatment (typically given to treat prostate cancer)
  • Testicular problems (such as an undescended testicle or a surgically removed testicle).
Realize that most men with risk factors never develop breast cancer. That's because the male risk is so low in general. But if you're at risk, especially if you notice a lump or any other suspicious symptoms, you'll definitely want to talk with your doctor about it.
Bottom line, pay attention to your body. Know when there is a change, and let your doctor know too. 
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