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WHAT IS MALE BREAST CANCER
Listening about a man having Breast Cancer seems to be the most unlikely thing to ever happen, but it is true. Though men do not have a breast like women, but they still have small amount of breast tissues. We can compare the breasts of an adult man to that of a young girl before puberty. In girls, this tissue grows and develops, but in men, it doesn't.
Male breast cancer is a rare cancer that forms in the breast tissue of men. Though it can occur at any age, but it is more common in older men. Most cases of male breast cancer are found in men who are 65 or over, although cases have been recorded in men aged anywhere from 5 to 93. Men get the same types of breast cancers that women do, but cancers involving the parts that make and store milk are rare.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF MALE BREAST CANCER
Symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those in women. Some of the most common symptoms are-
· A painless lump in the breast is the most common symptom.
· Changes to the skin covering the breast, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling
· Changes to the nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward
· Discharge from the nipple
CAUSES OF MALE BREAST CANCER
It's not clear what causes male breast cancer. However, a number of risk factors for male breast cancer have been identified:
Estrogen receptors - about 9 out of 10 breast cancers in men have estrogen receptors on their cell membranes. Estrogen receptors on the cell membranes allow estrogen molecules to bind to the cancer cells. Estrogen binding to the cancer cells stimulates cell growth and multiplication.
Klinefelter's syndrome- A rare genetic condition called Klinefelter's syndrome. This is where baby boys are born with much higher levels of estrogen than normal. It is a major risk factor for male breast cancer because men with the condition are 20 times more likely to develop male breast cancer.
Mutations in genes - Some men inherit abnormal (mutated) genes from their parents that increase the risk of breast cancer. Mutations in one of several genes, especially a gene called BRCA2, brings a greater risk of developing breast cancer in men. This has been found in an estimated 5 percent of men with male breast cancer.
Other things that raise the odds for male breast cancer include:
· Breast cancer in a close female relative
· History of radiation exposure of the chest
· Enlargement of breasts (called gynecomastia) from drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons
· Taking estrogen
· Severe liver disease, called cirrhosis
· Diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchitis, a testicular injury, or an undescended testicle.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE MALE BREAST CANCER
Typically, self-examination leads to the detection of a lump in the breast, which requires further investigation. If there is a history of male breast cancer in the family, a person should check regularly for lumps and report any changes to a doctor as soon as possible. Besides self-examination, mammography, ultrasound and biopsies (examining small samples of tissue under a microscope) is done to determine if a man has this rare form of breast cancer.
TREATMENT OF MALE BREAST CANCER
The same treatments that are used in treating breast cancer in women are also used to treat breast cancer in men. Thus the following treatment options for male breast cancer will be considered:
· Biological therapy, and
· Hormone therapy
The one major difference is that men with breast cancer respond much better to hormone therapy than women do. About 90% of male breast cancers have hormone receptors, meaning that hormone therapy can work in most men to treat the cancer.