Male Breast Cancer

Saima Andrabi   by Saima Andrabi, MS, Clinical Biochemistry    Last updated on February 21, 2021,

male breast cancer


Breast cancer is generally thought of as a cancer that affects only women. This idea is however wrong. Men can also get it though it is rare in men. It develops in the small amount of breast tissue of men behind their nipples.

What Is Breast Cancer in Men?

Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all breast cancer cases. Most of them occur at an old age of 60 or more. However, it can affect younger men too. There are high chances that men diagnosed with male breast cancer at an early stage find a cure. But, evidences indicate that male breast cancer generally are more complicated for the reason that given the rare nature, it often remains undiagnosed till late stages when it is difficult to find a cure.Many men delay meeting their doctors even if they notice usual signs or symptoms, such as a breast lumps. They are generally diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Lumps can form due to male breast cancer. Check with your doctor if you notice a change in your breasts or find any lumps or extra growth in the breasts or nearby regions.

Types of Breast Cancers in Men

Breast cancer can be classified into several different types based on the way the cancer cells look when viewed under a microscope. In some cases, a breast tumor may be a combination of various types of breast cancers. Even in some very rare types of breast cancer, cancer cells may not develop into a tumor at all.

Following types of breast cancer are found in men:

Infiltrating (or invasive) Ductal Carcinoma

Cancer that has spread beyond the cells lining the ducts in male breasts is called infiltrating ductal carcinoma. This is the most common of all male breast cancers. At least 8 out of 10 male breast cancers are infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma starts in a milk duct of the breast, spreads through the wall of the duct, and then grows into the fatty tissue of the male breast. At this stage, it may spread or metastasize to other parts of the body through our lymphatic system and the bloodstream.

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Abnormal cells that are found in the lining of a duct which are also known as intraductal carcinoma are termed as ductal carcinoma in situ. Ductal carcinoma in situ is considered non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. In this case, the cells have not invaded through the walls of the ducts into the nearby breast tissue.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

This is a type of male breast cancer.  Common signs include red and swollen breasts and the breasts feel warm.  It is often mistaken for an infection of the breast. This is very rare in men.

Paget Disease of the Nipple

This is a type of tumor that develops from ducts beneath the nipple and extends onto the surface of the nipple. It may also spread to the dark circle around the nipple. The skin of nipples becomes scaly and red with itching, oozing, burning, or bleeding. A lump may also form in the breast.

Outlook and Survival for Men with Breast Cancer

The outlook for breast cancer in men varies depending on its stage and how far it has spread when it is diagnosed. It may be possible to cure breast cancer it is detected at an early stage. Survival for men with breast cancer is similar as that for women with breast cancer in the same stage of diagnosis. However, as mentioned above, most breast cancers in men are diagnosed at a later stage. Cancer found at a later stage is less likely to get a cure.

Saima Andrabi

Saima Andrabi is a clinical biochemist and is passionate about driving knowledge platforms for creating health awareness in the general public. She pursued her master’s degree in clinical biochemistry from University of Kashmir, Srinagar followed by an internship from National Institute of pathology, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include molecular biology, immunology, medical physiology and forensic medicine. Saima is very much interested in writing medical content and wants to create awareness in public through this platform.


Currently, Saima Andrabi is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer.

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