Ask most men about the possibility of them getting breast cancer and some would answer you with laughter, sadly ignorant of the stark truth that they are also in the firing line of this deadly disease. This stretched out belief is not a surprise as judging by the obvious physiology of men as contrasted to the female gender and the increasing campaigns against breast cancer in women, males have been put out of the big picture that defines breast cancer.
If you really want to stay out of danger, then it is important that you get to know what breast cancer is and how it manifests in a man’s body.
What is male breast cancer?
Breast cancer can be described as a malignant tumor that develops from the breast cells and spreads to other neighboring cells.
Compared to women, men have nearly the same variety of cancer, save for the varieties that attack the area that processes milk and the one that stores milk.
Factors that may make a man susceptible to breast cancer
Age: it is very rare for breast cancer to strike a male below the age of 35. However, as one gets older, especially between the 60 and 70 age group, the risk increases. Males at an average age of 68 have the highest number of positive breast cancer diagnosis.
Estrogen levels: a man might have low levels of the male hormone androgen and more of the female hormone estrogen. This may be as a result of taking hormonal drugs or an effect of the Klinefelter syndrome. The high levels of estrogen trigger breast tissue growth in men, making them more susceptible to breast cancer.
Family history of breast cancer: if there has been a history of men in a family having breast cancer and there is presence of a proven cancer gene abnormality, then the chances of getting breast cancer are increased.
Radiation exposure: for men under the age of 30, radiation therapy to treat diseases such as the Hodgkin’s disease has been proved to increase the chances of contracting breast cancer. However, radiotherapy to treat breast cancer has not been proven to worsen the condition.
Just like in women, a developing breast cancer may be observed by a hard lump on the breast. Since so many men are unaware of this disease, the hard lump may be ignored, eventually leading to more severe symptoms such as bleeding from the nipple.
Generally, if you feel a hard lump in the breast, painful or inverted nipples, discharge from them - whether clear or bloody, sores at the areola, enlarged nipples or the lymph nodes under the arms, then you need to go for a check-up.
The earlier you go for diagnosis the better. Breast cancer is more manageable at early stages.
Breast cancer diagnosis in men is done either through physical exams, biopsies or mammography just like in women.
Treating breast cancer in men is in a way similar to women. Methods used vary between chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and biological therapy.
Statistics show that those affected by the disease has been on the rise. The threat of breast cancer in men is real thus all men should be armed with the knowledge of the disease.