Did you know that while men do not have breasts they do have breast tissue, making them susceptible to breast cancer?
Although breast cancer is about 100 times less common in men than in women, the incidence in men has increased. And because men do not immediately associate any lump in the chest with possible breast cancer, the disease is commonly diagnosed at a later stage.
According to Tricia Kalwar, M.D., MPH, hematologist oncologist at Broward Health Medical Center, men's breasts do not feel different at various times of the month, like women's do. Any change in a man's chest area should be checked out right away.
"Identifying breast cancer at a later, more aggressive state not only makes it harder to treat, but also increases the risk for the cancer to return later on," she explained. "Breast tissue does do not commonly change in men. Lumps should be evaluated by a physician immediately."
Obesity, alcohol, and previous cancers increase the risk for breast cancer in a man. As with women, family history with cancer should also be taken into consideration.
"If a man tests positive for the BRCA and BRCA2 genes it increases their chance for breast cancer by six percent," said Kalwar. "Genetic testing is recommended for men with a history of female-related cancers, such as breast, ovarian or cervical cancer."
Genetic testing at Broward Health can be scheduled by visiting www.browardhealth.org/appointment.Kalwar advises men to not "brush off" any changes in their breasts and to consult with a physician right away if they feel anything unusual. Women can also support their spouses, sons, brothers and fathers with open discussion about breast cancer and its risks.