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Did You know That Men Could Get Breast Cancer

cancerBreast cancer is one of the cancers many people know about thanks to various events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the pink ribbons, but when people think of this disease, they think of women. However, even though it’s rarer, it’s possible for men to have breast cancer, too. It can affect men at any age and, just like with women, the earlier it’s caught, the better. However, because men don’t often think about getting breast cancer themselves, most ignore or simply don’t know about the early warning signs of this disease, so they don’t get diagnosed until the cancer is in a later stage.

What Causes It?

Unfortunately, doctors currently do not know what causes male breast cancer. What is known is that it happens when the cells in the breast start rapidly dividing. These cells are not normal, healthy cells, and when they start to build up, they create a tumor. This tumor can quickly spread to tissues nearby and, from there, to other parts of the body.

Even though it’s not as developed as the breast tissue in women, all men have some breast tissue. It consists of fat; the lobules, the glands that, in women, make milk; and the ducts that connect the lobules to the nipples. Because this tissue is present, men can get breast cancer.

Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer

The signs of male breast cancer are much the same as they are with female breast cancer. This includes a change to how the skin around and on the breast feels—it may turn scaly, start to redden, or pucker and dimple. Men may also feel a lump in the breast or a thickening, although it’s not usually painful. Finally, and this is something men certainly notice: a discharge from the nipple. If you have any of these, especially if the symptoms last for more than a week, you need to call your doctor.

Types of Male Breast Cancer

There are a few different types of cancer that men can get in the breast tissue:

• Ductal Carcinoma – this type of breast cancer starts in the ducts connecting the lobules to the nipples. The large majority of male breast cancer is of this type.
• Lobular Carcinoma – this type of cancer starts in the lobules. It’s fairly rare since men have very few lobules.
• Paget’s disease of the nipple – this type of rare male breast cancer actually starts in the milk ducts before moving into the nipple. It’s actually easy to catch early because the skin near the nipple turns scaly and crusty.

It is possible that some men will inherit genes that have been mutated, which can increase their chance of developing breast cancer. These genes may not make the proteins that stop cells from growing incorrectly, leading to breast cancer.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.