Male Breast Cancer: What You Need to Know…

June is a month full of male focused things. First, it’s Father’s Day, and if you didn’t already June is also known as Men’s Health Awareness Month. While breast cancer affects mostly women, it also does affect men as well. Male breast cancer is extremely rare, but it’s important to know the signs & symptoms and also be aware of what you can be doing to reduce your risk of developing it later on in life.

WHAT IS MALE BREAST CANCER?

You might be thinking well what exactly is male breast cancer since men don’t exactly have breasts? Well, truth is both males and females have breast tissue. Because of having breast tissue, this makes them able to develop breast cancer.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

Just like in women, men with certain risk factors can have an increased risk of developing male breast cancer. Some of these risk factors are:

  • Older age – male breast cancer is often diagnosed in men that are aged between 60 and 70 years old
  • Exposure to estrogen – certain estrogen-related drugs can increase the risk of breast cancer in males
  • Family history – males with close family members with breast cancer, both male and female, have a greater risk of developing breast cancer
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome – males who have been diagnosed with Klinefelter’s Syndrome (KS) are at higher risk for breast cancer. KS is a genetic syndrome causing males to produce lower male hormones and more female hormones
  • Liver disease – males with liver disease can often see an increase in estrogen hormones, which increases the risk of breast cancer
  • Obesity – being obese is associated with high levels of estrogen flowing throughout the body, increased estrogen increases the risk of males developing breast cancer

SIGNS + SYMTOMS:

While all signs and symptoms of male breast cancer can vary, it is important to know the most common signs. If you notice any unusual changes, it is important to immediately consult your doctor.

  • A painless lump or thickening in the breast tissue
  • Changes to the skin covering the breast (dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling)
  • Changes to the nipple, such as redness or scaling, or nipple turns inward
  • Discharge from the nipple

WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE MY RISK?

While certain practices have been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer, they are not guaranteed to prevent male breast cancer. Some common practices to help reduce your risk are:

  • Vitamin D – clinical trials of vitamin D in women have shown a reduction of breast cancer of up to 77%. It is believed the same reduction also applies to men. Supplement your diet with 2,000-5,000 IU of vitamin D each day
  • Exercise & Maintain Healthy Weight – by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can help reduce risk of breast cancer. Aim to exercise 5 hours per week.
  • Stress Management – If you believe in the mind/body connection – meditation is a quiet activity that helps you clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Lowering stress levels can help reduce risks of diseases
  • Eat a Healthy Diet – emphasize fruits and vegetables in your diet. A healthy diet has been shown to also reduce risk of disease such as breast cancer.

For more information on breast cancer visit our Education Portal and download some educational materials!