Understanding Breast Cancer-Men

Mammogram

Breast cancer in men is a very rare disease. This is possibly due to their smaller amount of breast tissue and the fact that men produce smaller amounts of hormones like estrogen that are known to affect breast cancers in women.

Even though men do not have breasts like women, they do have a small amount of breast tissue. In fact the "breasts" of an adult man are similar to the breasts of a girl before puberty, and consist of a few ducts surrounded by breast and other tissue. In girls, this tissue grows and develops in response to female hormones, but in men -- who do not secrete the same amounts of these hormones -- this tissue does not develop.

The major problem is that breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later than breast cancer in women. This may be because men are less likely to be suspicious of an abnormality in that area. In addition, their small amount of breast tissue is harder to feel -- making it more difficult to catch these cancers early, and allowing tumors to spread more quickly to the surrounding tissues.

Though breast cancer is most commonly thought of as a woman's disease, male breast cancer does occur. Male breast cancer is most common in older men, though male breast cancer can occur at any age.

Types of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs when breast cells divide and grow without control, sometimes invading surrounding tissue.

Breast cancer can be classified generally as follows:
  • Non-Invasive Breast Cancer
  • Invasive Cancer
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer

Treatment

Everyone's treatment is different. To help doctors decide on the best treatment, the stage of the cancer needs to be determined.

  • Surgery
  • Lumpectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy or Radiotherapy
  • Hormonal Therapy

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