How Do Men Get Breast Cancer? The Surprising Facts

Breast cancer is commonly associated with women, but did you know that men can also develop this disease? Although rare, men are still susceptible to breast cancer, and it’s crucial to understand the risk factors and symptoms to promote early diagnosis and treatment.

What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the breast tissue. It occurs when the mutated DNA in the cells proliferates and forms a lump or tumor. This tumor can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

How Does Breast Cancer Develop In Men?

Breast cancer in men develops similarly to women. The cancerous cells in the breast tissue multiply and form tumors. However, compared to women, men have a smaller amount of breast tissue, making breast cancer in men relatively rare. The exact cause of breast cancer in men is unknown, but certain factors increase the risk of developing the disease.

Genetic Mutation

Mutations in the BRCA genes increase the risk of breast cancer in both men and women. Men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those without the mutation.

Hormonal Imbalance

Some men with breast cancer have higher estrogen levels that stimulate breast tissue growth. Hormonal imbalance can occur due to medications, medical conditions, or lifestyle factors.

Family History

Men with a family history of breast cancer, particularly a female relative, are at a higher risk of breast cancer development.


The risk of breast cancer increases as men age. Most men diagnosed with breast cancer are over 60 years old.

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer In Men?

The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast tissue
  • Changes in the nipple, such as inverted or retracted
  • Dimpled, puckered, or red skin in the breast area
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed In Men?

Breast cancer diagnosis in men involves a physical examination, imaging tests, and biopsy. The doctor will perform a breast exam and may order a mammogram or ultrasound to visualize the breast tissue. If the tests show an abnormality, a tissue sample will be taken for biopsy purposes.

What Are The Treatment Options For Men With Breast Cancer?

Treating breast cancer in men involves surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. The treatment plan will depend on the tumor size, location, and stage of cancer.


Surgery involves the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue. In some cases, a mastectomy may be required.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to destroy cancerous cells. It’s typically used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy involves the use of medications that block the effects of estrogen on breast tissue.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and prevent their division and growth.

How Can Men Reduce The Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer?

Although the risk of breast cancer in men cannot be entirely eliminated, they can take steps to reduce the risk.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can aid in reducing the risk of breast cancer development. This includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding excessive alcohol intake.

Regular Exams

Men, particularly those with a family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations, should undergo regular breast exams, including self-examinations.

Hormonal Therapy

Men undergoing hormonal therapy should discuss with their doctors how to minimize the risk of developing breast cancer.


Breast cancer in men is rare but still a significant health concern. Understanding the risk factors and symptoms of breast cancer in men can promote early diagnosis and improve the chances of successful treatment. Men should prioritize regular exams and healthy lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.


  • Q: Can men die from breast cancer?
  • A: Yes, men can die from breast cancer if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
  • Q: Can men have mammograms for breast cancer detection?
  • A: Yes, men can undergo mammograms, but the images might not be as clear as those in women due to their smaller breast size.
  • Q: Is breast cancer curable in men?
  • A: Yes, breast cancer in men is treatable and curable if detected and treated in the early stages.
  • Q: What are the risk factors for breast cancer in men?
  • A: Risk factors for breast cancer in men include genetic mutations, hormonal imbalance, family history, and aging.
  • Q: Are there any lifestyle changes that can lower the risk of breast cancer in men?
  • A: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding excessive alcohol intake, can lower the risk of breast cancer in men.


– “Male Breast Cancer.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Nov. 2020,

– “Breast Cancer in Men.” American Cancer Society, 8 Mar. 2021,

– “Male Breast Cancer.” Johns Hopkins Breast Center, 10 Sept. 2020,

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