Male breast cancer


  1. Symptoms
  2. Causes
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Treatment


Breast cancer most commonly affects women, however, in rare cases men can also be affected by breast cancer. Breast cancer in men occurs in the very small amount of breast tissue men have, which is found directly behind their nipples.


A concerned man



Symptoms of male breast cancer may include:

  • A lump in the breast
  • A lingering rash around the nipple
  • The nipple turns inwards
  • Nipple discharge
  • Small bumps in the armpit



Although the precise cause of breast cancer in men is unknown, there are some factors which can increase the possibility of developing it such as:

  • Genetic history - It is believed that inheriting defective versions of certain genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Obesity, Klinefelter syndrome and other conditions that can lead to increased oestrogen levels.
  • Previous radiotherapy treatment on the chest.



The following tests can be used to achieve diagnosis of breast cancer in men:

  • Ultrasound scan
  • Mammogram
  • Biopsy.



There are a number of treatment options for breast cancer in men, the most suitable one for each case depends on the stage of the cancer. Treatment options include:

  • Mastectomy - Surgery to remove the cancerous breast and armpit tissue.
  • Chemotherapy - Specialist cancer medicine that kills cancerous cells.
  • Radiotherapy - Radiation used to kill cancerous cells.
  • Medicine - There are some forms of medication which can help stop breast cancer growing such as tamoxifen and trastuzumab.
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