By now, hopefully you have heard of men’s breast cancer awareness. Although it is not near as common as in women, men’s breast cancer still needs to be talked about. Since men do not get yearly mammograms after 40 like women, it can be difficult to recognize the signs.
According to the National Cancer Institute, men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is unusual. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer. Radiation exposure, high levels of estrogen, and a family history of breast cancer can increase a man’s risk of breast cancer.
Males, however, share some common signs with women who have breast cancer. Lumps in the breast, usually painless, can be an indicator of male breast cancer just like thickening of the breast. Furthermore, changes to the nipple or breast skin, such as dimpling, puckering or redness, and discharge of fluid from the nipples (although that is very rare for men). Beware if you have an inverted nipple.
According to Komen.org, there are estimated to be over 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer in males in 2016. That’s only one in about 100,000 men compared to 124 women, but even if awareness can save one life, it’s worth it!
It is important to note that not all lumps are cancerous tissues. If you are concerned, schedule your appointment with your doctor who might have you get an MRI. Men often feel embarrassed talking about their breasts, but they shouldn’t. No cancer is too feminine or masculine if it can affect you. It is better to be safe than sorry!