Breast Cancer In Males And What Causes It
Cancer charity Macmillan describes breast cancer in men as rare, claiming 300 men in the UK are diagnosed with the disease every year. The cause of male breast cancer is not yet fully understood but the following factors may increase the risk of developing the disease: a family history of breast cancer; Klinefelter syndrome; alcohol abuse; radiation; drug abuse; obesity; getting older; some medical conditions and some occupations have also been linked to the disease in scientific studies (those working in hot environments such as steel works and rolling mills, as well as long term exposure to petrol and exhaust fumes have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer).
A recent article by CBC News reported that breast cancer is approximately 100 times less common in men than it is in women, but this statistic is often responsible for why so many men are not diagnosed until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Researchers involved in the study looked at breast cancer incidence and survival rates in men and women in Norway, Finland, Geneva, Singapore, Denmark, and Sweden over the past 4 decades – a total of 459,846 women and 2,665 men.
The findings concluded that on average, men with breast cancer were diagnosed later than women (69.6 years of age vs. 61.7 years of age) and were more likely to have advanced cancer at the time of being diagnosed. The same article also quoted evidence from The American Cancer Society which found the risk of a man developing breast cancer in his lifetime was about 1 in 1,000. The Society claims that about 2,140 American men will be diagnosed with the cancer in 2011, of which 450 will die of the disease.
For many men, the first symptom of breast cancer they notice is a painless lump under the nipple, but other symptoms can also include an inverted nipple; an ulcer on the skin of breast; a rash surrounding the nipple; changes in the size or the shape of the breast; a lump or swelling in the armpit or bleeding and discharge from the nipple. The first option for the treatment of men breast cancer is usually surgery. The surgical treatment often involves a procedure called a modified radical mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of the entire breast and the lymph nodes in the patient’s armpit. Reconstructive surgery is offered to those patients who have undergone a modified radical mastectomy, where tissue from other areas of the body, such as the patient’s buttocks or lower abdomen, are used to recreate the shape of the breast. Alternative options to reconstructive surgery are breast implants, and if the appearance of the nipple has been altered, tattoos provide a realistic result and is a quick alternative option, normally taking no longer than 40 minutes to complete.