Male Breast Cancer?

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What You Need to Know:

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month which has been celebrated for nearly three decades with iconic pink ribbons. The color pink was intentionally selected to symbolize this movement because if its social representation of females, the sex most often impacted by breast cancer. While it is true that far more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than men, approximately 2,670 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 500 will die from the disease this year.

Mathew Knowles, famous as father and former manager to superstar singer Beyonce, announced last week that he had undergone treatment for breast cancer this summer. Reports state that Mr. Knowles noticed a bloody discharge on his shirt from his nipple. He had a diagnostic mammogram and underwent a mastectomy in July for Stage IA breast cancer and is reportedly doing well.

The most common types of breast cancer affecting males are ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, and occasionally invasive lobular carcinoma. The process for staging breast cancer is the same for males and females, with similar survival rates. Prognosis for men with breast cancer is usually poorer because of advanced disease (stage II, III, or IV) at the time of diagnosis.

Risk factors for male breast cancer include mutations in the BRCA1, BRCA2, CHEK2, PTEN, and PALB2 genes, significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer, a diagnosis of Klinefelter syndrome, previous chest radiation treatment, excessive alcohol consumption, liver disease, estrogen-related drug use, obesity, older age, a history of mumps as an adult, orchiectomy, and undescended testicle(s). Modifiable risk factors include limiting alcohol intake and maintaining an ideal body weight. Screening mammography may be offered to men aged 35 and older with higher than normal risk for developing breast cancer due to a known genetic mutation or significant family history. 

Read More About Breast Cancer in Male Patients:

The MD Anderson Manual of Medical Oncology, 3e: Chapter 30. Special Situations in Breast Cancer

Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, 11e: Chapter 17. The Breast > Male Breast Cancer

 Hazzard's Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, 7e: Chapter 97. Breast Disease > Male Breast Cancer

American Cancer Socieity: Key Statistics for Breast Cancer in Men

Melanie Allison, DNP, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Executive Manager, Education & Learning, McGraw-Hill

Melanie Allison is the Executive Manager of Education & Learning with McGraw Hill. She earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from The Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, specializing as an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP), from Vanderbilt University. Melanie has more than 20 years of experience as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in adult cardiology and advanced lipid management. She is a part-time faculty member at a top school of nursing where she has taught for more than 16 years.