Breast Cancer in Men

While men are not as likely to have breast cancer as women, the disease does occur in men.  According to the American Cancer Society, the causes of breast cancer in men are not totally understood. That being said, research has found several factors that could increase the risk of breast cancer in men.

As with female breast cancer, many of these factors are related to sex hormone levels in the body and the level of sex hormone is related to breast cancer.

Risks that increase the possibility of breast cancer in men:

  • Aging contributes to the possibility of a man’s contracting breast cancer. The older a man is, the higher the risk factor. The average age of a man with breast cancer is 68 years old.
  • Family history of breast cancer increases the risk that a man will contract breast cancer.  One out of five men with breast cancer has a close male relative who has contracted the disease.
  • The gene BRCA2 that has mutated is responsible for some breast cancers in women and in about 10% of men with breast cancer. BRCA1 mutations or changes can also cause breast cancer in men but not to the same degree as the BRCA2 gene. Usually the people who have these genes, have a strong history of breast or ovarian cancers. When these changing genes occur, the age of the man can be younger than the usual sixty-ish age.
  • Klinefelter syndrome is a congenital condition that appears in about one in 1,000 men. These men have fewer male hormones and more female hormones. And they have been found to be more likely to get breast cancer than other men.
  • Increased radiation exposure can increase the risk of breast cancer. The increased radiation could be from cancer treatments in other parts of the body.
  • Heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of breast cancer in men.
  • Men with liver disease such as cirrhosis, appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Estrogen treatment used in men may slightly increase their risk of breast cancer.
  • Both men’s and women’s chances of getting breast cancer are increased with obesity.
  • Testicular conditions may increase breast cancer risk.
  • Certain occupations that require work in hot environments long term have been found to increase breast cancer risks.

If you or a loved one can make any changes in lifestyles that contribute to increased breast cancer risks, please make those changes. You do not want to become part of breast cancer statistics. Please share your thoughts.

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Photo: USAG Humphreys

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