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Breast Cancer in Men
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma—Cancer starts in the ducts of the breast and spreads into surrounding tissues. This is the most common type of breast cancer in men.
- Ductal carcinoma situ—Early stage cancer confined to the ducts. This type has the highest cure rate.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma—A rare cancer that starts in the lobules of the breast and spreads into surrounding tissues.
- Paget’s disease—A very rare cancer that starts in the ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola.
- Inflammatory—A very rare, but aggressive cancer that occurs with visible changes in the skin around the breast and nipple.
|Lymph Nodes and Vessels|
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- Advancing age
- Family history of breast cancer
- Genetic mutations, such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and others
- Exposure to radiation, especially in the chest
- Exposure to increased levels of estrogen, which may occur with:
- One or more lumps in the breast, which may or may not be painful
- One or more lumps in lymph nodes near the breast, under your arm, or collarbone that which may or may not be painful
- Changes in the skin or nipple, such as dimpling, puckering, or nipple retraction
- Redness, irritation, or ulceration of the skin in the breast area
- Discharge from the nipple, which may be clear or bloody
- Fine-needle aspiration—A thin needle is used to extract fluid or cells from the suspicious tissue.
- Core needle—Removal of a small cylinder of suspicious tissue.
- Surgical—Removal of a sample of the lump, or the entire lump with surrounding healthy tissue.
- Samples of lymph tissue and nipple discharge.
- Blood tests—To look for tumor markers and genetic mutations.
- Tissue evaluation—To look for estrogen or progesterone receptors, and the presence of HER2/neu and Oncotype DX. These are used to help plan therapy.
- Modified radical mastectomy—Removal of the whole breast, the lymph nodes under the arm and, often, the lining over the chest muscles. This is the most common procedure.
- Radical mastectomy—Removal of the whole breast, the lymph nodes under the arm, and the chest wall muscles under the breast. This is only done when the tumor is large and growing into the chest muscles.
- Axillary lymph node dissection— Removal of the lymph nodes under the arm. This is done to help determine whether cancer cells have entered the lymphatic system.
- Sentinel node biopsy— A small amount of blue dye and/or a radioactive tracer is placed in the area where the tumor was located. The lymph nodes that pick up the substance are removed. Those remaining lymph nodes should be removed if any sentinel nodes contain cancer.
- Biologic therapy—The use of medications or substances made by the body to treat cancer. Biologic response modifier (BRM) therapy is the use of medications to increase or restore the body's natural defenses against cancer.
- Targeted therapy—Uses medications to interfere with specific characteristics that are needed for the growth of the cancer cells. For example, medications can block the growth of new blood vessels or block chemical signals that allow cancer cells to grow and function.
- Hormone blocking therapy—Designed to take advantage of the fact that many breast cancers are estrogen sensitive. Estrogen binds to the estrogen-sensitive cells and stimulates them to grow and divide. Anti-estrogen drugs prevent the binding of estrogen. This stops the cells from growing and prevents or delays breast cancer from returning.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Bradley KL, Tyldesley S, et al. Contemporary systemic therapy for male breast cancer. Clin Breast Cancer. 2013 Oct 1;[Epub ahead of print].
Breast cancer in men. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003091-pdf.pdf. Accessed January 7, 2014.
Breast cancer in men. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 1, 2012. Accessed January 7, 2014.
Hotko YS. Male breast cancer: Clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment. Exp Oncol. 2013;35(4):303-310.
Male breast cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/malebreast/Patient. Updated September 18, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2014