How common is male breast cancer?

Written by: Dr Shiroma De Silva-Minor
Published: | Updated: 08/06/2023
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Top Doctors recently had the pleasure of speaking with revered consultant breast oncologist, Dr Shiroma De Silva-Minor. In this article below, Dr Silva-Minor walks us though some of the most common risk factors associated with male breast cancer.



How common is male breast cancer?

Male breast cancer is rare. Less than one per cent of all breast cancer affects men. In the UK, less than 400 cases a year are diagnosed.


What are some of the most common risk factors?

Like all cancers, male breast cancer is more common with advancing age, with the peak incidence being in the 60s. Genetic factors and obesity are the other common risk factors.


What is the prognosis of male breast cancer?

Prognosis is similar to breast cancer in women, but male breast cancer is often diagnosed at a later stage simply due to the fact that it is rarer.


What does the diagnostic process involve?

A diagnosis of male breast cancer will be made after taking a careful medical history and thorough examination. Following this, the patient will undergo imaging and then a biopsy. A mammogram, MRI, and ultrasound scan will all be carried out. 


How is male breast cancer treated? Does it differ from female breast cancer treatment?

Treatments are strikingly similar to female breast cancer treatments. When we talk about surgery, a mastectomy will be performed. Adjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and endocrine therapy are all also effective treatment options for patients, but it largely depends on the stage of the breast cancer.


If you are worried about potentially being diagnosed with male breast cancer, ensure that you book an appointment with esteemed consultant breast oncologist Dr Shiroma De Silva-Minor today by heading on over to her Top Doctors profile

By Dr Shiroma De Silva-Minor
Medical oncology

Dr Shiroma De Silva-Minor is an accomplished and experienced consultant breast oncologist who specialises in breast cancer (both male and female), breast screening, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, intraoperative radiation therapy, inflammatory breast cancers, HER2 positive disease, triple-negative breast cancers and breast cancer in pregnancy.

Dr De Silva-Minor oversees the entire (non-surgical) breast cancer pathway so she can advise on all aspects of treatment, including genetic counselling and testing, systemic (chemo) therapy, radiotherapy, and lifestyle factors in optimising health and minimising disease recurrence. Dr De Silva-Minor is currently practising privately, at the London-based Cromwell Hospital, as well as at GenesisCare Oxford, The Ridgeway Hospital in Swindon, and as an NHS Consultant at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford.

Dr De Silva-Minor, whose clinical expertise is in the treatment of early and recurrent breast cancer, notably obtained her first medical qualification in 1995, with her medical doctorate from the prestigious Cardiff-based University of Wales College of Medicine. In 1999, Dr De Silva-Minor was awarded the membership of the Royal College of Physicians (UK). Dr De Silva-Minor pursued her specialist oncology training at several centres of oncological excellence in London, including The Middlesex Hospital, The Royal Free Hospital, as well as The Royal Marsden Hospital, amongst others.

In 2003, Dr De Silva-Minor was awarded the fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists and was also recognised as a clinical oncology specialist on the General Medical Council's register in 2007. Dr De Silva-Minor has been a consultant oncologist since 2007 and was appointed as a substantive consultant oncologist by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2008.

Dr De Silva-Minor has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. During a fellowship in head and neck radiation oncology at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, Dr De Silva-Minor was awarded the Prize for Academic Excellence by the Princess Margaret Hospital and the University of Toronto for her research into the use of PETCT scans (Positron Emission Tomography) when identifying head and neck tumours for treatment with radiotherapy. Dr De Silva-Minor is a member of the breast cancer expert panel for the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), updating clinical guidelines on breast cancer management.

Dr De Silva-Minor is also collaborating on a metanalysis with the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) to bring together the research on radiotherapy clinical trials to better understand how to optimally treat breast cancer patients with radiotherapy. Dr De Silva-Minor is a member of the Advisory Board on Cancer in Pregnancy (ABCIP), an international panel of experts in managing breast cancer in pregnancy. Dr De Silva-Minor is a passionate advocate for empowering her patients to be involved in their management decisions. Treatment is completely bespoke to individual patients, their specific tumour subtype, taking into consideration the individual's beliefs, wishes and personal circumstances.

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