By Healthtrip Blog Published on - 06 April - 2023

Breast Cancer in Men: What You Need to Know

Breast cancer in men is a rare condition, but it does occur. It develops when the cells in the breast tissue grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. While the causes of breast cancer in men are not fully understood, there are several factors that can increase

Book free consulting session with HealthTrip expert

The risk of developing the condition includes:

  • Age: The risk of breast cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring in men over the age of 60.
  • Family history: Men with a family history of breast cancer, particularly a mother or sister with the disease, are at increased risk.
  • High levels of estrogen: Men with conditions that cause increased levels of estrogen in the body, such as Klinefelter syndrome, are at increased risk.
  • Radiation exposure: Men who have undergone radiation therapy to the chest area are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is rare in men, but it does occur. Men who develop breast cancer may experience complications that are similar to those experienced by women with the disease.

Some of these complications include:

  • Lymphedema: This is a condition that can occur after surgery to remove lymph nodes. It causes swelling in the arm or chest and can be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Depression and anxiety: Men with breast cancer may experience depression and anxiety, which can be caused by the stress of the diagnosis, treatment, and the impact it can have on their lives.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Treatment for breast cancer can cause sexual dysfunction in men, including erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
  • Fatigue: Cancer and cancer treatment can cause fatigue, which can make it difficult for men to carry out their daily activities.
  • Osteoporosis: Certain treatments for breast cancer can cause osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of fractures.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Treatment for breast cancer can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.

It is important for men with breast cancer to discuss any complications they may experience with their healthcare provider. There are treatments and interventions available to help manage these complications and improve quality of life.

Diagnosis and Treatment of breast cancer in Men

Diagnosing breast cancer in men typically involves a physical exam, imaging tests such as a mammogram or ultrasound, and a biopsy. Treatment options for breast cancer in men may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. The treatment plan will depend on the stage of cancer, the size and location of the tumor, and other individual factors

Symptoms of breast cancer in men can include:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast tissue
  • Changes to the nipple, such as inversion or discharge
  • Changes to the skin of the breast, such as dimpling or puckering
  • Redness or scaling of the skin around the breast

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to see a healthcare provider for evaluation.

Treatment Options:

Treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to that for women and typically includes a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. The specific treatment plan will depend on the stage of cancer and other individual factors.

  • Surgery: The most common treatment for breast cancer in men is surgery to remove the tumor. This may involve a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast).
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence. It may also be used as the primary treatment in cases where surgery is not an option.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. It may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: Some breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, meaning they rely on hormones like estrogen to grow. Hormone therapy uses drugs to block the effects of these hormones and can be an effective treatment option for some men with breast cancer.

In addition to these treatments, clinical trials may be available to men with breast cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments to determine their safety and effectiveness.

After a male breast surgery (also known as gynecomastia surgery), it is important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth recovery process.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Rest and recovery: It is important to rest for the first few days after the surgery. Avoid any strenuous activities for at least two weeks.
  • Pain management: Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to manage any discomfort. Take the medications as prescribed and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Dressings and compression garment: Your surgeon will place dressings over the incisions and provide you with a compression garment to wear for a few weeks to reduce swelling.
  • Hygiene: Keep the incision sites clean and dry. Follow your surgeon's instructions on how to take care of the incision sites.
  • Diet and hydration: Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal.
  • Follow-up appointments: Attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your recovery and ensure that there are no complications.

It is important to note that the recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and individual factors. It may take several weeks for swelling and bruising to subside, and for the final results to become visible. Be patient and allow your body enough time to heal fully before resuming normal activities.