Breast Cancer & Males

Breast cancer in men usually presents as a unilateral (occurring on one side) lump or enlargement in breast tissue. Locally advanced presentations are slightly more common in men because the condition is often not diagnosed promptly. Most (80–90 percent) cases of breast cancer in men are invasive ductal carcinomas (IDC).

Incidence & Prevalence of Breast Cancer in Men

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 2,360 cases of invasive breast cancer in men are diagnosed each year in the United States and about 430 men die from the disease annually. Breast cancer rates in men have remained stable in the past several years. The lifetime risk of breast cancer for men in the United States is about 1 in 1000.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Men

Medications to treat heartburn, ulcers, high blood pressure, and heart failure; liver disease; and abnormalities in hormone-producing glands may affect the metabolism or production of hormones, causing gynecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue in men). Gynecomastia increases a man's risk for breast cancer. Enlargement of breast tissue on one side may indicate the presence of cancer.

Treatment for Breast Cancer in Men

Breast cancer in men is usually treated with modified radical mastectomy and, in advanced cases, adjuvant radiation therapy. The prognosis depends on the size of the tumor and the stage of the disease.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015