What is the incidence of breast cancer in men?
For each 100 women that we see with breast cancer, we see one man. Therefore the risk is low, particularly in comparison to cancers such as lung, prostate or colon. The National Cancer Registry of 2008 states that the life-time risk of breast cancer in males in South Africa is in between 1 in 943 to 1 in 1305, depending on race. Men, like women, may develop breast cancer at any age, but are more at risk between the ages of 60 and 80 years.
What types of breast cancer do men get?
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma: Cancer that has spread beyond the cells lining ducts in the breast. Most men with breast cancer have this type of cancer.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ: Abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a duct; also called intraductal carcinoma.
- Inflammatory breast cancer: A type of cancer in which the breast looks red and swollen and feels warm.
- Paget disease of the nipple: A tumor that has grown from ducts beneath the nipple onto the surface of the nipple.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells found in one of the lobes or sections of the breast).
What causes breast cancer in men ?
- Family history and known carriers of the breast cancer gene mutation BRCA-1 and 2 have a higher chance of breast cancer. Hereditary breast cancer makes up approximately 5% to 10% of all breast cancer. Some genes related to breast cancer are more common in certain ethnic groups.
Other risk factors include:
- Being exposed to radiation.
- Having a disease related to high levels of estrogen in the body, such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or Klinefelter syndrome (a genetic disorder.)
CANSA‘s head researcher, Carl Albrecht, cautioned South African men: “I think the important thing is that every man should realise that it is possible to contract breast cancer because a lot of men don’t understand and realise that breast cancer in men is something that can happen. So if you detect any kind of change in your breasts as a man, you should be aware that this could be cancer and if it doesn’t go away after two weeks you should go see a general practitioner.”