How likely is a man to get breast cancer?

Breast cancer in men is rare, making up less than 1 percent of cases. Although men have less breast tissue than women, cancer can still occur in the breast cells.

Breast cancer in men is more commonly seen in those ages 60 to 70. Increased risk factors for male breast cancer include family history of breast cancer (male and/or female), radiation exposure, extra female chromosomes, excessive alcohol use, excess weight or having a disease or disorder related to high levels of estrogen in the body.

Signs and symptoms that men should look for are the same as the ones in women: lumps, an inverted nipple, skin dimpling or rash on the breast and/or nipple discharge. If any other abnormality develops in either breast, please see your doctor immediately.

Treatment for male breast cancer is the same as treatment for women with breast cancer and can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.

Breast cancer in men is usually discovered at a later stage in the disease, limiting its successful treatment. Some men may feel embarrassed or have difficulty discussing problems related to breast cancer, but it is important to know that these reactions are normal and that the earlier the cancer is detected, the better one’s chances are for effective treatment of the disease.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.


National Cancer Institute -

Mayo Clinic -

This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.