How Common Is Breast Cancer In Men?

Though breast cancer is less common than women, it is possible to develop breast cancer in men.

Both men and women have breast tissue.

Until puberty, girls and boys have a small amount of breast tissue with few ducts under the nipple and areola.

After the girl reaching puberty, her ovaries producing hormones cause breast ducts to grow.

Lobules form at the end of the ducts and the amount of stroma increases. But in men, hormones which are made by testicles prevent in further growth of breast tissue.

As you have less amount of breast tissue than women, it is easier to detect breast lumps and other abnormalities in you than women. As everyone thinks that breast cancer can occur only in women, you often ignore the early symptoms of breast cancer. You become embarrassed with breast lumps and delay to make an appointment with the doctor.

Common abnormality seen in men:

The common abnormality seen in men is a non-cancerous condition called gynecomastia. It is the condition with increase in the amount of breast tissue. The condition is most common in boys of teenage and it is related to hormone balance changes during adolescence.

Males with gynecomastia have button like growth under the nipple and areola that can be easily felt and seen. Sometimes, old men also develop with this condition due to hormonal balance changes. While gynecomastia is a symmetrical condition that is similar in both breasts, sometimes it happens asymmetrically that is it affects one breast.

Sometimes, your body produces more estrogen due to the tumors or diseases of endocrine glands and results in gynecomastia. Estrogen is a main female hormone, which is produced in small amounts in men and is usually less to cause breast growth.

As the liver aids in hormone metabolism, hormone balance is changed in you due to liver diseases and cause breast cancer or gynecomastia.

Emotions that are experienced by men after diagnosis:

You feel guilt and blame yourself that you have not gone for mammogram very soon. You will also go through a period in which you cannot accept that you have the disease. You feel lonely, as your friends will stop inviting and keep them at distance.

Due to loneliness and guilt, you will be under depression and it results in loss of sleep, appetite and weight.

Coping with breast cancer:

There are many treatments available, but the treatment is decided by the stage of your breast cancer. The treatments available are surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy [hormone replacement therapy], chemotherapy and biological therapy.

As the cancer will be close to the chest wall, your doctor mostly suggests radiotherapy after surgery. This helps in reducing risk of cancer cell growth back in future.

You should discuss the problem with your family members privately. Have someone who knows and understands your problem and give constant support when you are lonely and depressed.