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Is it possible for males to be diagnosed with breast cancer? Know symptoms and risk factors

Well, males can also be diagnosed with breast cancer; however, it is very rare. But it is essential to know about the risk factors, symptoms and everything about the fatal disease.

Written By : Health Desk Edited By : Kristina Das
New Delhi
Published on: February 29, 2024 15:39 IST
breast cancer in males
Image Source : FREEPIK Know symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer in males.

Breast cancer is most often found in women, but men can get breast cancer too. About one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man. Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. According to Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit, Senior Director,  Oncology, Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh, male breast cancer is a rare cancer that begins as a growth of cells in the breast tissue of men.

Signs and symptoms of male breast cancer can include:

1. A painless lump or thickening of the skin on the chest.

2. Changes to the skin covering the chest, such as dimpling, puckering, scaling or changes in the colour of the skin.
3. Changes to the nipple, such as changes in the skin colour or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward.

Causes

It's not clear what causes male breast cancer.

  • Male breast cancer starts when cells in the breast tissue develop changes in their DNA. A cell's DNA holds the instructions that tell the cell what to do. In healthy cells, the DNA gives instructions to grow and multiply at a set rate.
  • In cancer cells, the DNA changes give different instructions. The changes tell the cancer cells to make many more cells quickly. Cancer cells can keep living when healthy cells would die. This causes too many cells.
  • The cancer cells might form a mass called a tumour. The tumour can grow to invade and destroy healthy body tissue. In time, cancer cells can break away and spread to other parts of the body. When cancer spreads, it's called metastatic cancer.

Where does breast cancer begin in men?

  • Everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue. Breast tissue consists of milk-producing glands, ducts that carry milk to the nipples and fat.
  • During puberty, people assigned female at birth typically begin growing more breast tissue.
  • People assigned male at birth generally do not grow more breast tissue. But because everyone is born with a small amount of breast tissue, breast cancer can develop in anyone.

Factors that increase the risk of male breast cancer include:

Older age- The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Male breast cancer is most often diagnosed in men in their 60s.

Family history of breast cancer- If you have a blood relative with breast cancer, you have a greater chance of getting the disease.

Inherited DNA changes that increase breast cancer risk- Some of the DNA changes that can lead to breast cancer are passed down from parents to children. People born with these DNA changes have a greater risk of breast cancer. For example, the DNA changes BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of male breast cancer.

Obesity- Obesity is linked with higher levels of estrogen in the body. This increases the risk of male breast cancer.

Testicle disease or surgery- Having inflamed testicles, called orchitis, or surgery to remove a testicle, called orchiectomy, can increase the risk of male breast cancer.

ALSO READ: Post-chemotherapy dying cancer cells can turn healthy cells cancerous, finds Tata Memorial Centre study

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