As we approach the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seems appropriate to raise awareness about a much rarer form of breast cancer- male breast cancer.
Yes, men do get breast cancer, although much less frequently than women, making up only about 1% of breast cancer cases. The list of male celebrities is also fairly short. It includes former U.S. senator Edward Brooke, actor Richard Roundtree of “Shaft” fame, 1960s NFL fullback Ernie Green, and , rock star Peter Criss of Kiss.
“As a man, I thought I must have pulled a muscle, and being in spandex and lipstick and high heels most of my life, I’m pretty used to my body. I just felt like something was wrong and I told her (Criss’ wife) so she mentioned it to the doctor. The doctor said if you were my husband I would send you over to New York Presbyterian to see Dr. Switzel.
But that’s a cancer hospital for women. She goes, “Yeah but I think you should go there.” It blew my mind walking into a huge room like this nothing but women, no men, except for their husbands with them. It felt really uncomfortable for me, and it actually scared the pants off of me.”
2. Breast cancer can occur in men. Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer.
3. The following types of breast cancer are found in men:
4. Radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen, and a family history of breast cancer can increase a man’s risk of breast cancer.
5. Male breast cancer is sometimes caused by inherited gene mutations.
The genes in cells carry the hereditary information that is received from a person’s parents. Hereditary breast cancer makes up about 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some mutated genes related to breast cancer are more common in certain ethnic groups. Men who have a mutated gene related to breast cancer have an increased risk of this disease.
6. Men with breast cancer usually have lumps that can be felt.
7. Survival for men with breast cancer is similar to survival for women with breast cancer.
Survival for men with breast cancer is similar to that for women with breast cancer when their stage at diagnosis is the same. Breast cancer in men, however, is often diagnosed at a later stage. Cancer found at a later stage may be less likely to be cured.
8. The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
9. Four types of standard treatment are used to treat men with breast cancer:
10. Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a type of targeted therapy being studied in the treatment of male breast cancer. One such monoclonal antibody, called Trastuzumab blocks the effects of the growth factor protein HER2.