Male Breast Cancer

At a Glance

Men can get breast cancer.

Breast cancer is very uncommon in males compared to females.

Breast cancer affects the same breast organ and tissue in males as in females.

Overview

What is male breast cancer?

The tumor arises in the same organ and tissue in males as in females, although more commonly in ductal cells, and less commonly in lobular cells.

Signs & symptoms of male breast cancer

The most common sign is a lump in breast tissue. The diagnosis can be confirmed by mammography and biopsy.

Statistics

 Male breast cancer incidence

The National Cancer Institute reports a male breast cancer incidence of 1.2 per 100,000.

It is estimated that in 2019, 2,670 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed.[1]

What age range of men does it typically affect?

The age range is very broad and can include young adults all the way to those in their 90s. According to the National Cancer Institute data, the median age at breast cancer diagnosis in males is about five years older than in females.

What’s the mortality rate for male breast cancer compared to female breast cancer?

In males, the breast cancer mortality rate for the years 2009-2013 was 0.3 per 100,000 compared to 21.5 per 100,000 in females.

How does male breast cancer differ from female breast cancer?

For men, the risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833 compared to 1 in 8 for women.[2]

Disparities exist in male breast cancer. While it is 100 times less common in white women than white men, it is 70 times less common in Black men than Black women.[3]

Black men and women have poorer prognosis and higher mortality than white men and women.[4]

Overall, men are 43% more likely to die from breast cancer than women.[5]

Male breast cancer is most commonly of the ER+/PR+ type and tends to occur at older ages at diagnosis. There is also no such thing as pre-menopausal breast cancer in males. BRCA1/2 also confers increased risk of male breast cancer.

Camp Lejeune Case Study

From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. We interviewed Richard Clapp, M.P.H., D.Sc. to find out more about his role as a scientific advisor to the study team and the link between contaminated drinking water and male breast cancer. Learn more

[1] [2] [3] [4] American Cancer Society. Available online: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed August 1, 2019.

[5] Liu N, Johnson KJ, Ma CX. Male breast cancer: an updated surveillance, epidemiology, and end results data analysis. Clinical breast cancer. 2018 Oct 1;18(5):e997-1002.

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