Male breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancer cases.
There are over 400 deaths from male breast cancer each year and the mortality rate is slightly higher than that of female breast cancer.
A lump near the nipple is the most common sign. The average size of the lump is 2.5 cm in diameter.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there are over 2,200 new cases reported each year.
Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma is the most common form of breast cancer. This means that the cancer originated in the ducts or tubular structures and that the cells have spread beyond the ducts into the surrounding tissue.
Other symptoms can include skin ulceration, puckering or dimpling, redness or scaling, or retraction (turning inward) of the nipple.
Bloody or opaque discharge from the nipple may also occur.
Breast cancer can metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body including the bones, prostate, liver, and brain causing traumatic and deadly symptoms.
The risk factors for male breast cancer and female breast cancer are the same. Cancer in general is not fully understood, but both environmental and genetic (inherited) factors can be involved in cancer development.
Men with multiple female relatives with breast cancer have an increased risk of the disease. Men with a mutation of the BRCA-2 gene have an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer. BRCA-2 is a gene on chromosome 13 that has been shown to increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers when mutated.
Cirrhosis can result from alcohol abuse, viral hepatitis, or in rare occasions from genetic disorders. Cirrhosis impairs liver function which can lead to elevated estrogen in the blood which is linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
An genetic (inherited) condition that results in a man having an extra X (female) chromosome, resulting an XXY configuration instead of the normal XY configuration. This syndrome can increase the risk of breast cancer by 50 times.
Certain conditions can lead to elevated levels of estrogen. The abnormal enlargement of male breast tissue is called gynecomastia and is linked to high estrogen levels. Cirrhosis of the liver and Klinefelter's syndrome can cause hyperestrogenism.