Can Men Get Breast Cancer, Too? Yes, At Any Age!

By Soumik Ghosh

Men generally think that they don't really have breast tissue. But the truth is, they do. Maybe men have lesser breast tissue than women and so the risk of developing breast cancer in men is comparatively rarer, but it's not an absolute myth.

It's true that whenever we talk about breast cancer, we barely talk or even think about men who are also diagnosed with this condition. We assume breast cancer is exclusively a woman's disease. In fact, men make up even less than one per cent of global breast cancer cases. But the risk still exists, right? And you know what's worse? Most men often ignore the symptoms.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer Too

While men don't necessarily need to undergo regular self breast exams, they should occasionally check for pain or lumps in and around their breast tissue. And if, in case, you do experience pain, please do not ignore it: see a doctor right away.

Much in advance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year in October, we from Boldsky bring to you the symptoms, probable causes and every little thing related to breast cancer that all men should watch out for.

Probable Causes

It's still not clear to scientists what causes breast cancer in males. However, it has been asserted that male breast cancer occurs when some breast cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells. Thereafter, the accumulating cells form a tumour that stands exposed to spreading (metastasizing) to nearby tissues, lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

Where Does It Begin From?

Every man on earth is born with a small amount of breast tissue. Breast tissues generally consist of milk-producing glands or lobules, ducts that carry milk to the nipples and fat. The only differentiating factor is that while women begin developing more breast tissues during puberty, men do not. But since men are born with lesser breast tissues, they also always stand a chance to develop breast cancer.

Types of breast cancer diagnosed in men include:

• Ductal Carcinoma- This type of cancer begins in the milk-carrying ducts. Although male breast cancer is a rare event in itself, but almost all cases are ductal carcinoma.
• Lobular Carcinoma- This type of cancer begins in the milk-producing glands. This type is rare because men have very few lobules in their breast tissues.
• Other Types- Other, rarer types of breast cancer in men include Paget's disease and inflammatory breast cancer.

Symptoms To Look Out For

1. Lumps

Guys often ignore lumps on their chest, little knowing that the lump in your pecs can be a sign of breast cancer, too. Usually painless, these lumps can sometimes feel tender when touched. If the cancer has spread, swelling can be spotted under the armpit or around the collar bone.

2. Inverted Nipple

While growing, a breast cancer tumour starts pulling ligaments inside the breast. And as a result, it causes the nipple to invert or become dented. Sometimes, it's accompanied by dry, scaly skin near the area.

3. Nipple Discharge

At times, men with preliminary breast cancer notice stains on their shirts, but they simply chalk them up to spills. Take note, if stains always appear on the same side of the chest, then it could be nipple discharge. It happens when fluid from the tumour leaks out of the nipple duct.

4. Open Sores

In some of the extreme cases, when a cancer has been ignored, men develop an open sore on the nipple when the tumour is almost growing through the skin. Since men are born with almost negligible breast tissue, it's possible for the tumour to push itself through the skin. The sore, in such cases, looks like a picked pimple.

If you happen to relate to any of these above symptoms, do consult your doctor or a subject expert without delay.

Also note that breast cancer when diagnosed at an early stage has a good chance for cure. Treatments typically involve surgeries to absolutely removing the breast tissue. Other treatments-chemotherapy and radiation therapy-may also be recommended depending on your situation.

For any query or suggestion, do drop your messages in the "Comments" section below.

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