Breast cancer is often thought of as a woman’s disease, but it can also affect men. Approximately one in every 100 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States is found in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Breast cancer in men is often found later than in women, which is why it is important for men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and to see their doctor regularly for checkups, as early detection and treatment can lead to better outcomes.
“Breast cancer in men is the same type of breast cancer as in women,” Dr. Kirtly Jones, a gynecologist at the University of Utah, said in an October 2020 episode of The Scope, a U. podcast that highlights expert health advice.
“If a man develops breast cancer, we should offer him testing,” she said. “If a man has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, the chance of getting breast cancer is six in 100. And if he has a BRCA2 mutation, it is one in 100. Early detection is just as important for treatment in men as it is in women; because who cares about men’s health? We do.”
The most common signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
- A lump in the breast
- Nipple discharge
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
- Redness or dimpling of the skin on the breast
- Inverted nipple
If one experiences any of these symptoms, an immediate visit to the doctor is advised.
According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with breast cancer is 93% when the cancer is found early. However, the five-year survival rate drops to 21% when the cancer is found at a later stage.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020,” said Keith Jones, a 55-year-old man from Salt Lake City. “At first, I was in shock. I never thought I could get breast cancer. But then I realized that I needed to get focused on getting treatment.”
Jones had surgery to remove the tumor in his breast, followed by radiation therapy. He is now cancer-free.
“I am so grateful that I was able to catch my cancer early,” he said. “I urge all men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to see their doctor regularly for checkups.”
Breast cancer is a serious disease, but it is treatable when caught early. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and both men and women are urged to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to see their doctor regularly for checkups.