Breast Cancer in Men
Menstuff® is actively compiling information, books and resources on the issue of breast cancer in men. Since very little research has been done on men versus women, we report some information regarding women as it "might" apply to men as well.
International Comparison of Male and Female Breast Cancer Incidence
What are the signs and symptoms for men?
A Man Dies Every Day
Screen Together - Live Together
Do Men Get Breast Cancer?
Do Men Know The Symptoms Of Male Breast Cancer?
Male Breast Cancer
Gasoline exposure increases risk of male breast cancer
Breast Cancer Self-Exam Reminder
Breast Cancer in Daughters and Wives
Detect Breast Cancer without Operation
Detailed Guide: Breast Cancer in Men from the Am Cancer Society
"Superman" by Jimmy Charle
A Man Dies Every Day
The prognosis (outlook) for men with breast cancer was once
thought to be worse than that for women, but recent studies have not
found this to be true. Based on looking at each stage, the survival
rates are about equal. In other words, men and women with the same
stage of breast cancer have a similar outlook for survival.
Breast Cancer Kills Men Too
We're entering the second decade of public and professional education and awareness regarding breast cancer. There are 17 major national nonprofit cancer organizations working to ensure that the media and communities everywhere focus a spotlight on the problem of breast cancer (in women.) So why are we talking about this subject in a men's site? Because, while it is a relatively small number Breast Cancer Kills Men, Too. (2007 - 1,990 new cases of breast cancer in men and 450 deaths.) So, if all of this awareness is out there why haven't I found a man yet that wasn't amazed to know that men can even get breast cancer? And, here's the BIG ONE. Relative delay in diagnosis of men versus women: 18 months. So, chances are, our cases are more advanced resulting in higher mortality rates.
I once went through the many men's health books looking for information on breast cancer. Most of the indexes go from "breakfast" to "breath, bad". The Man's Health Book by Michael Oppenheim is the ONLY one that even acknowledged the possibility, and it was published way back in 1994. Here's what they say: "Male breast cancer is about one fourth as common as penile cancer. The mortality rate is greater in men because they lack the frightening awareness that's almost universal among women. A soft lump behind the nipple is probably gynecomastia; a hard lump points to cancer. Either is worth a trip to the doctor." That's it for breast cancer in men. They do have several pages concerning Gynescomastia (abnormal breast swelling) for men. What we do know is that, generally, breast cancer is usually more common in men over 60 with higher than normal levels of estrogen. Personal and family history of breast cancer is a factor. Signs are a lump, thickening, swelling, discharge or other changes in the breast.
Esquire article. Bradenton
Male breast cancer awareness: Why Beyonce's
father, Mathew Knowles, urges men to get tested
Mathew Knowles, father to Beyoncé and Solange, revealed on "Good Morning America" that he's been battling breast cancer. USA TODAY
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins, few people think about the men affected.
Beyoncés father, Mathew Knowles, revealed on "Good Morning America" Wednesday that he is battling breast cancer and urged other men to get tested for the disease.
The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,670 new cases of invasive male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the USA in 2019, and about 500 men will die from the disease.
Mary Smania, assistant professor at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, said breast cancer in men is extremely rare less than 1% but carries dangerous consequences.
Should you get a 3D mammogram?: What you should know about how the screening detects breast cancer
What are the symptoms of breast cancer in men?
The American Cancer Society lists signs and symptoms of male breast cancer:
It's important to see a health care professional with any concerns. Breast cancer is usually more common in men over 60 with higher than normal levels of estrogen.
Sometimes breast cancer can spread and cause swelling under the arm or around the collar bone, even before the original tumor in the breast isn't big enough to be felt, according to the organization.
"It's a little bit easier to detect," Smania said. "Typically because they don't have the amount of breast tissue that women have."
Routine breast screenings don't exist for men like they do for women, Smania said, so it's important to see a health care professional with any concerns.
Lyndsay Rhodes, associate professor of biological sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University, said knowing the symptoms is a great first step to early detection.
"Being aware of symptoms can save lives," Rhodes said. "Early detection is key."
How do men get breast cancer?
The ACS noted that cells in nearly any part of the body can be susceptible to cancer and can spread to other areas of the body.
The organization's website says cancer can start at different parts of the breast, such in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple or the glands that make breast milk. Although men's breasts don't produce milk like women's, their bodies have these ducts and glands.
Smania said the most common form of breast cancer in men is the invasive ductal carcinoma, which the ACS said starts in the milk duct, breaks through the wall of the duct, then grows into the fatty tissue of the breast where it has the potential to spread.
Why is it important to get tested?
When a man is diagnosed with breast cancer, Smania said, doctors usually do genetic testing as well to determine if he carries BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, also known by the National Breast Cancer Foundation as the "Breast Cancer Gene."
These mutations are genetic and can be passed down to children, which would significantly increase the chances of a daughter having breast cancer, Smania said.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation said 55%-65% of women with the BRCA1 mutation and about 45% with the BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the age of 70.
"Education in this matter is critical," Rhodes said. "Men are statistically less likely to have a primary care physician, go to yearly exams or conduct self breast exams."
'Im lucky to be alive': '90210' star Shannen Doherty gets
candid on breast cancer battle
Male Breast Cancer
"If Shaft can survive this, and the reason (is) early detection, I have to say something about it."
--Richard Roundtree, Actor
One in every 100 breast cancer cases is a man. It's unusual, unnoticed, and ignored, and too often results in a cancer that becomes deadly.
Which men are most at risk?
All men are potentially at risk, and should begin doing breast self-exams, checking for unusual lumps beneath the nipple. If a malignant lump is found, local breast removal may be recommended.
You can ask Richard Roundtree vie email
about his breast cancer battle. Also, check our Healthcentral News
sections for more information about environmental and hereditary
risks, symptoms, and male breast cancer research. The Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation is also a very good source of information.
Call 1-800-462-9273 healthcentral.cnxmedia.net/?station=kgo&IOID=373
How can we protect our sons from breast
Parents should avoid using baby care products containing lavender or tea tree oil, which have been shown to produce estrogenic effects in boys, and parabens, which are suspected to interfere with male reproductive functions. Also to be avoided are clear plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, and toys containing polycarbonates, which have been shown to be carcinogenic. Plastic products containing polycarbonates may be marked on the base with a triangle containing the number 7.
Soy infant formula contains phytoestrogens, which have been shown to delay puberty in male rats. While the few studies that have compared the health of milk formula-fed children with soy formula fed children have not found any adverse effects for soy, based on the available evidence, boys fed soy formula could suffer from subtle demasculinization effects.
Boys should be vaccinated against mumps to prevent possible damage to the testicles associated with mumps.
Childhood personal care products
Some personal care products have been found to cause signs feminization, including breasts, in boys. These include shampoo and other hair products, body creams, body oils, and other personal care products with labels indicating that they contain lavender, tea tree oil, placenta or placental extract, or hormones. Personal products containing parabens are also suspected of contributing to breast cancer incidence. These products are intended for external use, but are absorbed through the skin or scalp. In addition, there are a number of hair care and other products marketed to African-American women that contain placenta or "hormone" that should not be used to groom boys.
Childhood weight and exercise
Being overweight has been found to be associated with increased risk of breast cancer in adult men whereas physical activity is inversely related, even after adjustment for body mass index. It is not clear at what point in life overweight becomes a significant risk factor for subsequent breast cancer in men. However, since adult obesity often follows childhood obesity, it makes sense to take steps not to overfeed boys and to encourage daily physical activity. Since testicular injury is suspected of contributing to some cases of breast cancer, boys should wear athletic supporters and cups, as appropriate, for any sports in which they engage.
Whether used to treat or to diagnose illness, radiation to the chest or back (including x-rays, CT scans, and radiation treatment) during childhood can result in breast cancer in adulthood. While such radiation normally is administered for medically necessary reasons, parents of boys at high risk for later breast cancer should pay attention to the degree of exposure and try to limit it, where possible. Parents should also make sure that the chest is fully protected when radiation is administered to the head or neck or other areas close to the chest or back.
Although there is ample evidence that diet can influence risk of breast cancer in women, the evidence is thin and contradictory for men. Consumption of red meat has been associated with increased male breast cancer risk in several studies, and consumption of fruits and vegetables with a decreased risk. Factors that affect breast cancer risk in men may begin to contribute to risk starting in childhood. Men diagnosed with estrogen positive disease might consider reviewing our article on what to eat for hormone receptor positive breast cancer in women to examine the possibility that the family diet might increase risk of breast cancer in their sons.
Exposure to environmental carcinogens
Some plastics contain estrogenic and otherwise carcinogenic chemicals that can leach into food when the plastics are heated, microwaved, put under pressure or simply scuffed and worn. These chemicals include bisphenol A, styrene, and phthalates. Plastics that may leach these substances include (1) polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which may be found in cling wrap, some plastic squeeze bottles, and cooking oil bottles; (2) polystyrene, which may be found in styrofoam food containers and disposable cups and bowls; and (3) polycarbonates, which may be found in plastic baby bottles, water bottles, and clear plastic sippy cups. Children and adults alike should avoid all but temporary, low temperature uses of these products. Plastic containers may be marked with a number in a triangle-like icon. Plastics marked 1, 2, 4 or 5 use less toxic additives in their manufacture. Products that use polyvinyl chloride should be marked with 3, polystyrene with a 6, and polycarbonate with a 7 - these are the ones to avoid.
Boys who are raised on or near farms, raised by farm workers, or who are themselves farm workers may be vulnerable to the breast cancer-promoting effects of certain pesticides, hormones and other chemicals used in the production of food and other products. Boys should be kept out of harm's way when such chemicals are applied and should not be required to pick or process crops to which pesticides have been applied. Parents of boys raised on or near farms should educate themselves on the risks of the specific chemicals used there and take appropriate precautions.
Men who have worked in blast furnaces, steel works, rolling mills have been observed to have a highly likelihood of breast cancer, suggesting that heat may damage testicles in a way that promotes breast cancer (presumably by altering the androgen/estrogen ratio in the body). Workers in machinery repair and manufacturing of motor vehicles also have higher risk, indicating that exposure to environmental carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, nitrosamines, and metal fumes in some manufacturing environments are possible contributing factors. This suggests that high-risk teenagers should avoid summer jobs involving exposure to high heat or manufacturing environments likely to result in exposure to carcinogens. These factors should also be taken into account in selecting future careers.
Body building and weight loss products
Care should be taken in selecting any body building or weight loss products. For example, some protein powders consist primarily of soy protein, which is estrogenic as a result of its phytoestrogen content. Supplemental human growth hormone might also contribute to breast cancer risk. This is because tall height is associated with increased risk of male breast cancer, suggesting that high circulating levels of hormones that contribute to tall stature may promote breast cancer.
While the evidence regarding alcohol consumption is not consistent for male breast cancer (it is a strong contributor to female breast cancer risk), it appears to be a risk factor. Boys and teenagers should not have ready access to alcohol.
The treatments required to induce male-to-female sex change, including castration and large doses of female hormones, lower androgen levels and increase the estrogen-to-androgen ratio, thereby increasing the risk for breast cancer. Those undergoing sex change should be made aware of the increased risk of breast cancer and be screened for it periodically.
Since men are typically not screened with mammograms, they usually find their breast cancers themselves. Higher risk teenagers should be taught to perform breast self-exams. Adding this instruction to a lesson on testicle self exam might make it more palatable.
Fathers and mothers who themselves have an elevated risk of breast
cancer might benefit from eating a wide variety of the foods on our
food list and limit or avoid
those on our avoid list, in addition to paying attention to them when
feeding their children.
Gasoline exposure increases risk of male
"If gasoline and combustion products cause breast cancer in men, it probably does so in women too," according to Dr. Johnni Hansen of the Danish Cancer Society, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Hansen looked at the lifetime employment records of 230 Danish men born between 1897 and 1966 who were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researcher matched each case with 56 men born the same year who did not have the disease. Men who had blue-collar jobs for at least 3 months in service stations, vehicle maintenance, wholesale gasoline sales, or car repair shops were considered to have been exposed to gasoline vapors.
Men who had been exposed to gasoline and combustion products for at least 3 months were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who had not been exposed, Hansen reports. In addition, men who began working in these trades before age 40 were almost four times as likely to develop the disease.
Writing in the current issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Hansen notes that although breast cancer is rare in men, the disease in men seems to be linked to many of the same factors as in women. These factors include family history of disease, a prior non-malignant breast disorder, and exposure to ionizing radiation. Previous studies have linked exposure to benzene and certain hydrocarbons, both products of gasoline and diesel fuels combustion, with breast cancer in women and in animals.
"Since (these hydrocarbons) and remnants of uncombusted gasoline are exhausted from automobiles to the general environment, the breast cancer risk particularly of women may be of public concern," Hansen explains.
The author calls for further study of the risk of breast cancer
among men and women exposed to gasoline and combustion products.
Do Men Get Breast Cancer?
I don't have any lumps, but should I be examined for breast cancer?
Dr. Dean: The answer to your question is yes. Men are only about two percent of all breast cancer cases, but breast cancer in men is often fatal because the symptoms are ignored.
You would be wise to do a self-exam when you take a shower. Your chest, being flat, will be easier to examine than a woman's chest is. Soaping your breasts makes them slippery and helps you feel the details of the tissue better. This is true for women, too, of course.
If you find a lump, you should get a mammogram. Believe it or not, they can pinch enough tissue in a male's chest for a mammogram. I don't think there is a recommendation for routine mammograms for men, but because so few protocols exist, I suggest you do your own extensive literature search.
Even with your family history, not enough is known about male
breast cancer for me to tell you how high your risk is. I do think
your risk for prostate cancer might be elevated, so you should be
vigilant about getting your examinations. www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanfulltexttopics.cfm?id=11194
Do Men Know The Symptoms Of Male Breast
My first symptom was that my left nipple was inverted - it was pulling in. That began to increase and then it became very painful. One night, it hurt so badly that it woke me up. That's when I went to my local doctor who sent me on to a surgeon.
The surgeon said he didn't think I had breast cancer, but he tested me anyway and found out that I did. Eventually I went to a breast specialist to have the tumor removed.
Since this experience, I have run into four or five more cases in Columbus alone. I don't hear the media talk about male breast cancer though, so I'm calling to raise awareness.
Dr. Dean: The pulling in that you are describing can be a symptom of breast cancer in either a man or a woman. This pulling is called "peau d'orange" - skin of the orange - and it should be taken seriously, as should a lump, in either gender.
Nonetheless, I would expect that many general practitioners would brush you off, send you on your way with some antibiotics. Instead, your doctor had a topnotch response that may have saved your life.
Breast pain is more likely to be something other than breast cancer, but as your case illustrates, that's not always true.
Since we can't count on the media for accuracy and balanced
reporting, I appreciate guys like you calling in to keep us informed.
Screen Together - Live Together
This guide is not intended as a replacement for professional care.
For complete diagnosis and treatment, see your health care
professional. Also, signup for the free monthly Breast
Cancer Self-Exam Reminder
Become a Breast Ambassador
The Silent Story of Male Breast Cancer
Harvey Singer, a breast cancer survivor and the creator of HISBreastCancer.org, joined hosts Jacob Soboroff and Janet Varney on HuffPost Live to discuss his experience as a man with breast cancer.
The medical community was not set up to handle guys with this disease, Singer shared. Thats when things really started spinning for me. I started looking at alternatives and what I was going to do for surgery. You have to be your own personal advocate for this disease.
Because the cause of his breast cancer was hormonally driven, Singer was given the same types of treatments women receive despite differences in the levels and types of hormones he was producing. They dont know how to segregate that from a male and a female, so they just treat you with the common things they would treat a woman with. That was the most disturbing part to me.
Dr. Richard Clapp, founder and former director of MA Cancer
Registry and Epidemiologist/Professor Emeritus at Boston University
Dept of Environmental Health and Mike Partain, born at Camp Lejeune
during what has become known as one of the worst contaminated
drinking water tragedies in American history, discussed this topic
with Soboroff, Varney, and Singer.
Breast Cancer Risk Increasing for Men
Men Usually Slow to Detect Breast
Even so, survival rates are not significantly different between men and women, say researchers from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas who presented the study Monday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago.
Men account for about 1 percent of breast cancers reported in the United States -- or 1,600 new cases last year, the researchers say. They analyzed National Cancer Institute data on breast cancer cases for men and women from 1973 through 1998. Men with cancer were found to be older, more likely to have later-stage cancers that had spread to the lymph nodes, and more likely to have ductal and papillary cancers, the study says.
The age difference probably stems from men's lack of awareness
that they, too, can have breast cancer, the researchers say.
Source: Robert Preidt, www.healthscout.com/printerFriendly.asp?ap=1&id=1501495
Men With Breast Cancer Go Public
Predictive Testing For Hereditary Breast
And Ovarian Cancer: Its Effect On Women
One in ten women opted to have prophylactic mastectomy and nearly half opted to have their ovaries removed in the year following genetic tests which showed they were at risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), a Belgian clinical psychologist reported at the 3rd European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona today.
Source: Federation of European Cancer Societies, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8799/22002/347426.html
Men Are Affected, Too, And Have a Role to
While the women in our lives may succumb to cancer's physical manifestations, men are deeply affected by its emotional and psychological challenges. The feelings I experienced when my wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with the disease in February -- helplessness, fear, anger, and uncertainty -- are similar to what other men and women have felt. Yet women, with their more extensive communication networks, have a venue for developing a support system. Men are often just set adrift. And even though, according to the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, it is estimated that 1,500 men will be diagnosed and 400 men will die of breast cancer this year, it is still considered a women's disease.
Let's face it, since men really are from Mars, we are very ill-equipped to handle the emotional and spiritual workload that quickly gets dumped on us. We can certainly "do stuff," but sometimes men just can't "read" what a woman wants and needs. Women want to gather information and talk about it over and over again. Men figure that they've talked about it already: "We're done, right?" This can easily translate into "I don't care" or worse.
After weeks of discussing the possibility of breast cancer and its recent confirmation, for example, my wife and I were off to a Saturday evening wine and cheese party with friends. Her mission was to talk with two members of the group who were involved in medicine. My intent was a temporary break from the ongoing discussions. It was the only time during our cancer crisis that we had a major argument.
Barbara and I really did work together to conquer the disease, however. We researched together, discussed the possible findings and outcomes together and made many visits to doctors' offices together. And since her successful surgery, we have worked hard to get our lives back to a sense of normalcy together. I have met many men who also collaborated with their partner or significant other in fighting cancer. According to cancer survivor Kay Alport, president of Bosom Buddies, a Chicago-based breast cancer support organization, "part of this is recognizing that 'normal' is now different than it was before."
Yet within the scope of togetherness, I (and other men I have spoken with) experienced some very real male emotions and feelings. At the time of initial diagnosis and surgery, these are not necessarily the types of things one can share with a partner who is fighting for her life. In fact, losing one's wife jumps immediately to the top of the list of male fears. But not far behind are feelings of inadequacy (how can I fix it; what do I need to do to get control of the situation; when will things get back to normal?) and anger (why her?).
Until I watched the home video "Partners in Hope," produced by Bosom Buddies earlier this year, I had not seen any male-female teams talking about how they survived the disease together. This video changed that. Created as a byproduct of an earlier female-oriented video, it focused on men.
I wouldn't have known about this video without having discovered Men Against Breast Cancer. MABC is the first national nonprofit designed to target and mobilize men to be active participants in the fight to eradicate breast cancer and to help men provide support for the women in their lives. Marc Heyison and Steve Peck founded the organization.
And we wouldn't have discovered MABC without a visit to Carolyn Hendricks, a Bethesda-based oncologist, a few weeks before my wife's surgery. She had a Men Against Breast Cancer sign posted in her office. She saw the helplessness of men who accompanied their wives to her office.
I saw the same at a breast-cancer awareness session for men at Inova Fairfax Hospital in late October. Men Against Breast Cancer were cosponsors of that day's program. But only a few of the 20 men shared their thoughts and concerns; most sat in silence.
While women can talk and research well, men "need a road map." Matt Loscalzo, director of patient and family services at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, notes that such a document doesn't exist, and that eachsituation is different.
But, with enough generalizations, such a road map is possible. Peck and Loscalzo are working to create one, and in fact MABC hopes to provide a wallet-size card describing the "10 things men need to do" in such circumstances. While many of these relate directly to the breast cancer situation, many can actually help men be better partners throughout their lives.
So guys, here are a few ideas to get you started (the list is a work in progress). They are primarily focused on a husband-wife relationship.
Take charge, take control, don't be helpless.
Be sure you don't overpower her; communicate on her terms; learn how to communicate better (and that includes just listening).
If she wants, handle making the appointments, finding out test results, etc.
Make dinner, clean the house, take care of the kids.
You married this woman "for better or for worse." This means that you need to show her your unconditional love at the start and end of each day. Squeeze as many hugs as you can into your waking hours. She needs to
know she is still a desirable woman.
Stay on target and stay together throughout diagnosis, surgery and treatment, as needed.
Laughter is the best medicine -- Barbara and I made lots of jokes about her situation. Our favorite was my telling her to "get her ducts in order." One woman even named her replacement breasts. Humor also lightens the mood of family and friends and makes them better able to provide support.
Another organization is the Virginia-based Men's Crusade Against Breast Cancer. Founded by Bernie Smith, the husband of a breast cancer victim, it has pushed for statewide recognition that breast cancer is a family disease. He has several legislative proclamations already to support this.
With such a growing number of people bent on making breast cancer more than a woman's disease, the future may well hold a time in which it is removed from the role it holds today. Perhaps the horrifying statistic that one in eight women will be diagnosed with it can be replaced by a much smaller ratio.
Until that day, the words of Paul Forbes, a man who has just entered the breast cancer world (his wife recently had surgery), holds incredible promise. Forbes shared this with me at the Inova session: "Not my wife alone, but we, a couple, will survive breast cancer."
Here are a few resources for men:
Bosom Buddies www.bosombuddies.org 877-245-1300
Men Against Breast Cancer www.menagainstbreastcancer.com
Men's Crusade Against Breast Cancer: 703-978-3336.
Source: H. Michael Mogil Special to The
Washington Post www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12874-2001Nov11.html
Liver Damage from Alcohol Increases Chances
of Breast Cancer
For women, night work may up breast cancer
Breast cancer death rate grows in
FDA approves first-line option for
advanced breast cancer
Perceived cancer risk influences
Tamoxifen does not seem to help or
hurt the heart
NFL Support Breast Cancer Research
Male Breast Cancer is Rare, But It
Does Occur, By Rod Harmon, Bradenton (FL) Herald
Alcoholics are also in the high-risk category, because they are more likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver, resulting in higher estrogen levels. Radiation exposure to the chest, common to treat lymphoma, increases risk of breast cancer. In younger males and older men, breast cancer is typically associated with gynecomastia, a condition that results in overdeveloped breasts. It can be caused by high estrogen levels or certain medications and steroids.
Symptoms of male breast cancer are the same as in women: a lump in the breast (generally in the center behind the aureola in men) discharge from the nipple, retraction of the nipple, or an ulceration on the breast. Lumps are often painless, which is why a lot of men tend to ignore them. Nipple discharge is the most ominous sign in a man, as 75 percent of all cases involving this symptom turn out to be cancerous. Diagnosis and treatment are also similar to that used on women. A mammogram is performed, accompanied by an ultrasound, a physical exam and a biopsy. If cancer is detected, a mastectomy is usually performed -- unlike with women, attempts to preserve male breasts are rare. If the cancer has spread, radiation therapy and chemotherapy might be needed.
Until recently, some men with breast cancer were castrated to
eliminate hormones that can support cancer growth. Now, physicians
use the estrogen-blocking drug tamoxifen, no doubt to the relief of
men everywhere. More or Self
and Breast Cancer
Daughters At Risk When Father Has Breast
Three recent cases of breast cancer occurring in young daughters of Danish men with the disease was reported in The Lancet. Researchers say other data from the Swedish Family Cancer Database found 11 breast tumors in daughters of 463 men with breast cancer. There were no cases where sons of men with breast cancer got the disease.
The researchers say familial breast cancer in men closely resembles female breast cancer in magnitude of risk and early onset. This means the relative risk of daughters getting the disease goes down with age.
In studies of families where both the husband and wife have breast
cancer, the relative risk is high for daughters to get the disease,
the researchers add. www.healthcentral.com/drdean/deanfulltexttopics.cfm?id=11273
Ultrasound helps diagnose male breast
Breast pathology is rare in men compared with women, and male breast cancers account for only 1% of all breast malignancies, explained Dr. Cynthia Pham from M.D. Anderson Cancer in Houston, Texas.
Fine needle aspiration is a technique used to sample tissue from a lump. Using ultrasound guidance to assist the procedure appears to improve its success, according to the study.
Pham discussed her group's findings a study of 15 men with self-detected, palpable breast masses. One man had a family history of breast cancer, and another had a previous cancer in the opposite breast. Lesions found to be malignant were removed surgically, while benign lesions were followed up clinically.
Ultrasound criteria for diagnosing breast cancer were similar to those used in women, Pham said, including irregular margins and shadowing beneath the mass.
Seven of the men proved to have primary breast cancer, cancer arising in the breast, Pham reported. In four cases, unsuspected lymph node metastases were also detected by using the technique.
Men with a cancer diagnosis averaged 64 years of age, Pham said, whereas noncancer diagnoses were more common in younger men, average age 48 years.
In each case, the ultrasound appearance of the disease mimicked its female counterpart, Pham noted. She pointed out two principal limitations of the technique. First, an experienced cytopathologist--a specialist trained in examining potentially malignant cells--is critical to making an accurate diagnosis. Second, ultrasound guided needle aspiration cannot diagnose invasion, where the tumor is if the lymph nodes appear normal.
"Despite these limitations," Pham concluded, "ultrasound guided
(fine needle aspiration) proved reliable for diagnosing and staging
abnormalities in the male breast." www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?id=33961&StoryType=ReutersNews
Little progress against male breast
Changes in treatment strategies have "had no detected impact on the outcomes" of patients with this rare form of cancer, say investigators at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada.
Less than one percent of breast carcinomas occur in men, and just one in 100,000 men will ever be affected by the disease. These low numbers mean that there are few accurate studies of breast cancer outcomes in male patients.
In their report, published in the February 1st issue of the journal Cancer, the Toronto team reviewed the medical records of 229 men with breast cancer treated at their hospital between 1955-1996.
The researchers report that although "previously undetected, smaller breast tumors are now being identified, no significant improvement has been made in terms of diagnosing" these cancers early in development. Nearly two-thirds of all male breast tumors are still detected by the patients themselves, the authors explain, and many of these diagnoses occur after the cancer has already spread to other body sites.
The focus of surgical management of male breast carcinoma has shifted from radical (full) to modified (partial) mastectomy over the study period, according to the authors. Rates for radical mastectomy declined from nearly half (47.2 percent) of all cases in 1955-1965 to no cases between 1986-1996. They stress, however, that "these changes in management had no detected impact on the outcomes of the patients in our series."
Overall five-year disease-free patient survival has remained relatively stable at 53 percent over the past four decades, they say - significantly below the 64 percent five-year survival rate for female patients reported by one major study. But lack of data make comparisons of breast cancer survival between the sexes "difficult," write the authors.
The Toronto team point out that male breast cancer patients are
less likely to receive hormone therapy or chemotherapy than female
patients. "These findings suggest that more aggressive treatment,
which includes adjuvant chemotherapy, may be beneficial to men," they
Male Breast Cancer
Yes. In 1999, it is estimated that 1,300 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 400 will die from it. In addition, 175,000 women will be diagnosed, and 43,300 will die.
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men?
What are risk factors in men?
Is the survival rate better for men than for women?
No, survival of men and women is comparable by stage of disease at the time of diagnosis. However, men are usually diagnosed at a later stage, after the cancer has spread, because they are less likely to report any symptoms.
Is the treatment of breast cancer different for men?
No, treatment of breast cancer in men is the same as treatment for women patients and usually includes a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or hormone therapy.
What should I do if I have a problem? Report any changes in your chest/breast area to your medical professional.
For more information on breast health or breast cancer contact:
Klinefelter's syndrome: Males with this syndrome have an extra sex chromosome and do not produce enough testosterone.
Gynecomastia: This is an enlargement of the male breast and may be
related to Klinefelter's syndrome, chronic diseases such as heart
disease, or a variety of drugs used to treat chronic diseases.
Acupuncture eases nausea caused by
FDA advisers back drug for advanced breast
Many doctors avoid using
New method of early breast cancer
New scope could look inside milk duct for
Surprising finding about dietary
fat and breast cancer
Knocking down the color barriers in
breast cancer detection
Looking for breast cancer in three
Breast cancer: Almost everything you
need to know -- Part I
Breast cancer: Almost everything you
need to know --Part II
How dangerous is breast cancer
Are there interactions between St. John's
wort and tamoxifen?
Cancer Society Info on Male Breast Cancer