Breast cancer is widely considered a woman’s disease, but men are also at risk. Around 1 in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Although their risk for breast cancer is low, knowledge of male breast cancer symptoms can help men to recognize this potentially deadly disease.
What are the Signs of Male Breast Cancer?
Male breast cancer symptoms can be very similar to those found in women. The most prominent symptom is a lump in the breast. If you notice changes to your breast tissue, you should be evaluated by a physician with experience in treating breast diseases.
While most women are aware that a lump could indicate breast cancer, men may be more likely to ignore lumps. Additional male breast cancer symptoms include:
- Changes in the skin covering the breast, such as puckering, dimpling or discoloration.
- Changes to the nipple, such as discoloration or flaking.
- Inverted nipple.
- Nipple discharge.
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer
Researchers cannot predict who will or will not get male breast cancer, but certain factors have been identified that can increase a man’s risk for contracting the disease.
- Risk for male breast cancer increases with age, with most diagnoses occurring between the ages of 68 and 71.
- A genetic predisposition, such as having a mutation in the BRCA2 gene
- Taking estrogen for a sex-change procedure or as a medical treatment can increase your risk for male breast cancer.
- Family history of breast cancer can increase risk for male breast cancer.
- Personal history of radiation exposure to the chest.
- Other risk factors include Klinefelter’s syndrome, liver disease, radiation exposure and obesity.
Men with any of these risk factors should be especially aware of male breast cancer symptoms. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, seek help from a physician as soon as possible. Many men diagnosed with this disease are diagnosed at a late-stage because they are unaware of male breast cancer symptoms. Early diagnosis for men and women can improve survival and decrease the risk of death from breast cancer.