Tuesday December 26 2017

Do men get breast cancer?

 

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I recently got a swelling in my breast. It is not painful. Do men get breast cancer?

Jack:
Dear Jack, Much as women may be 100 times more prone to breast cancer, men can also get it. The belief that cancer of the breast only affects women may delay cancer treatment. It is true men also develop some excessive breast tissue at puberty but this regresses and disappears early in youth.
The obese, alcoholics, those suffering from liver disease or testicular damage and chromosomal abnormalities (XXY) or those that may have female-like breasts are particularly prone. A family history of cancer (both for men and women) can also risk a man getting breast cancer.

Men, whose breast swelling disappears at puberty but develop other swellings later in life require evaluation by doctors to rule out a sinister cause. Breast lumps in men just like women are not usually cancerous but they still require evaluation by a doctor. Men just like women must do a self-examination of their breasts especially when they are big to rule out emerging lumps.

What to do
Visit a doctor. A thorough breast exam will be done to locate any lumps or suspicious areas and to feel their texture, size, and relationship to the skin and muscle tissue. The doctor may also examine the rest of your body to look for any evidence of possible spread, such as enlarged lymph nodes (especially under the arm) or an enlarged liver. Your general physical condition may also be evaluated.

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