Is breast cancer a condition men can contract too? The quick answer is yes. Breast cancer is generally a condition that is associated with women. But it is not quite true to consider that men cannot contact this type of cancer.
Although it is extremely rare to come across cases of men suffering from breast cancer. Every person in the world, regardless of gender, is born with breast tissues and cells. While it is true that men’s breast glands do not produce milk, they are not immune to developing cancer.
Breast cancer in men is extremely rare but not impossible. Out of all breast cancer cases ever recorded, the ones that are in men make up less than 1%. Only one out of 1,000 men will ever get a breast cancer diagnosis.
What are the symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men are basically the same ones in women. Usually, breast cancer starts as a hard lump that has developed below the areola and nipple area.
The breast cancer mortality rate in men is higher than in women mainly because they are less aware of the possibility. Thus, it is very unlikely for them to assume that a lump could be a sign of breast cancer.
Due to the fact that this condition is associated, almost exclusively to women, no man thinks about checking with a doctor. This, then, could result in the delay in the decision to seek treatment. As for the survival rates after treatment, those for men and women are quite similar.
The importance of detecting cancer early is to be able to start the treatment early. Any individual, regardless of gender, should immediately consult a doctor if they notice anything strange with their breasts.
If a man tests positive for breast cancer, it is strongly recommended that he also consult a geneticist. He should get tested for a defective gene that could either be the BRCA1 gene or BRCA2 gene. Children of men who carry either of these genes have a 50% chance of inheriting them. Here are the statistics:
- Men who are genetically more likely to develop breast cancer also have a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer earlier than usual.
- A daughter of a man with breast cancer who inherits any of the said defective genes has a 40-80% chance of developing breast cancer in the future.
- A son of a man with breast cancer who inherits the BRCA1 gene only has over 1% chance of developing breast cancer in the future. And if he inherits the BRCA2 gene, his chances of developing breast cancer in the future are roughly 6% only.
Types of breast cancer in men
Majority of the cases of men getting diagnosed with breast cancer are usually Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) cases. This is a condition in which the cells around and in the ducts start to invade the tissues surrounding them. Men could also develop inflammatory breast cancer, but it is extremely rare.
What are the risk factors?
There are some factors that make a man more predisposed to develop breast cancer. Here is the list:
- Having a history of breast cancer in the family, particularly cancer associated with the BRCA2 gene.
- Having high estrogen levels.
- Exposure to radiation.
If you have reasons to believe that you may be at risk for breast cancer, consult a doctor immediately.
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