Hey Guys, It's Male Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer in men becoming more common

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The incidence of breast cancer in men remains quite low and so does awareness of the disease. Yet the most common cancer in women does show up in men who need to be on the lookout for breast changes...too.

A new study from the University of Leeds in England has revealed that most men don't know they're at risk of breast cancer, even though cases are increasing in that country.

"If you notice ANY changes in your breasts, see your doctor right away."

While it's 100 times less common in men than in women, just over 2,000 cases of male breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Of the 2,140 new cases of invasive breast diagnosed, roughly 450 men will die from the disease.

In England, the incidence of this disease has substantially increased over a recent 20-year period. The study documented 185 cases in 1986 and 277 cases in 2006. The number of cases in the United States has been relatively stable for the past 30 years.

Lead investigator, Dr. Valerie Speirs, admits the exact reason for the increasing cases in England remains unclear. However, she surmises that obesity, physical inactivity and a culture of binge drinking may play significant roles.

Dr. Speirs and colleagues say this data suggest a need for more study into the biological and genetic behavior of breast cancer in men. Such study would distinguish the similarities and differences with female breast cancer.

To this end, University of Leeds researchers are collecting and storing breast tissue samples from men in a program being called the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank.

Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer

  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Swelling of the breast
  • Sore or ulcer in the skin of the breast
  • Nipple that's pulled or inverted
  • Lump under the arm
  • Change in texture or appearance of the breast

This study was published in the on-line journal Breast Cancer Research.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 13, 2011
Last Updated:
July 5, 2013