Fact #: Yes Men Can Get Breast Cancer
Were used to hearing about breast cancer in women. But men can also develop breast cancer, because men and women have the same underlying structures in their breasts.
Before puberty, both males and females have a small amount of breast tissue, including milk ducts underneath the nipple. When women go through puberty they develop many more of these structures, but adult men still have the same number they had before puberty. In men, these structures arent normally functional.
Breast cancer most often begins in these ducts. Cancer develops when duct cells begin to grow uncontrollably, invading surrounding tissue or spreading to other parts of the body. Cancer that begins in skin or tissue that surround organs including in duct cells in the breast is called carcinoma. Carcinomas are by far the most common form of male breast cancer.
Not All Breast Cancers Are The Same
“It’s a common misperception that breast cancer is a single disease,” says Rao.
In fact, several different types exist. For example, cancer can originate in the lobules, which produce milk in the ducts, which carry milk toward the nipple or, more rarely, in the breast’s connective tissue.
Breast cancers also differ in their genetic makeup and in whether hormones or a protein called HER2/neu can spur their growth.
Interesting Facts About Breast Cancer
At South Miami OB-GYN Associates, a clinical breast exam is part of the annual GYN check-up. While most often patients discover a lump on their own while bathing and dressing, it is helpful for your GYN to establish a baseline for future reference.
Click HERE to schedule your annual exam today.
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It Is Important To Know Your Risk Factors
Did you know that you face a higher risk of breast cancer if a family member has been previously diagnosed for breast cancer? In addition to knowing the symptoms, it is also important to know the risk factors associated with breast cancer. This includes genetic factors such as family history and your genetic makeup, and environmental factors such as the aforementioned poor diet and alcohol consumption. Heres more information about the risk factors:
Fact : The First Record Of A Mastectomy Offered For Breast Cancer Was Over 1500 Years Ago
The first record of a breast mastectomy was in A.D. 548 on Theodora, Empress of Byzantine. Significant progress in our understanding and treatment of breast cancer in recent decades has seen a dramatic reduction in the use of âradicalâ mastectomy , which was the standard surgical approach to breast cancer right up until the 1960s.
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Men Can Get Breast Cancer Too
Each year about 2,670 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer . While this number is small, men still should check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and report any changes to their physicians.
Most of the time, breast cancer in men is discovered because they had a lump in their breast. Nipple discharge in men is also a warning sign, Dr. Dull says.
No Woman Is Exempt From Breast Cancer
Though some women are more likely than others to develop breast cancer, all women are at risk.
Over her lifetime, a woman in the U.S. has about a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer and a 1 in 39 chance of dying from the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, most women who get breast cancer had no significant risk factors. So every woman should educate herself about breast cancer and make breast examinations including mammograms a priority.
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Whatever Form Breast Cancer Takes The Best Treatment Is Comprehensive
Rao stresses that breast cancer treatment is multidisciplinary, involving surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and psychologists. As such, it’s most effective when specialists work together to give patients comprehensive care.
At the Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Clinic at Rush, the first such clinic in the Midwest, every new patient begins by meeting with all the relevant specialists at once.
“Instead of the surgeon saying ‘you need radiation therapy,’ and the patient having no idea what radiation would entail, the radiation doctor is right there to explain,” Rao says. “So the patient can, in one sitting, get information for the entire course of her treatment. That’s one of the best things we can offer to patients.”
Only 10 To 15 Percent Of Breast Cancers Are Tied To Family History
While a family history of breast cancer can place you in a higher risk group, only 10 to 15 percent of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of it.
I see many patients in my office diagnosed with breast cancer who are shocked at the diagnosis because they have no family history of the disease, Dr. Dull says.
And if you have a family history of breast cancer, it is not a guarantee that you will end up having breast cancer yourself, but Dr. Dull says you may need to start your mammograms earlier.
Generally, we recommend you start 10 years prior to the earliest breast cancer diagnosis in your family. And that can be from either your mom or dads side of the family, Dr. Dull says.
If you have several family members who have had breast cancer, especially under age 50, the probability increases that there is a breast cancer gene contributing to the cause of this familial history.
Its always good to see a specialist so we can assess your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer based on your family history, Dr. Dull says.
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Fact #: Mammograms Arent Just For Women
The x-ray machine that takes mammograms
Just like women, men can receive a mammogram or other types of imaging exams to determine if cancer is present. A mammogram takes only a few seconds, and it requires pressing the breast between two plates to compress the tissue and get a clearer image. Depending on the results of the mammogram, further tests, like a biopsy or ultrasound, might be needed.
As always, just because your doctor orders an imaging exam or biopsy doesnt mean you have cancer. In fact, most results of these tests dont show cancer.
If you or a loved one is concerned about breast cancer, contact your care provider. They can perform a physical examination and recommend imaging options or further studies.
Fact #: Men Can Feel Left Out Of The Breast Cancer Conversation
Men diagnosed with breast cancer can feel like outcasts or freaks. They might not feel at home in breast care centers decorated in pink, or in waiting rooms where they are the only male present.
But the truth is that breast cancer affects thousands of men every year. Having breast cancer, or being concerned about a possible symptom, doesnt mean that a man should feel ashamed or embarrassed. The biological fact is that cancer can develop in places all over the body, from bones to organs to the skin. Breasts are no different.
Here at UVA, we work hard to make men with breast cancer feel welcome and cared for. Men with breast cancer arent alone here: weve treated many men with breast cancer. Our subspecialty trained breast imagers are experts at detecting and diagnosing male breast cancer. And our breast care team has extensive experience in treating men with breast cancer.
If youre concerned about breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the imaging and care options available at the UVA Breast Care Center. Learn more about male breast cancer , or about all of UVAs breast care services . To schedule a consultation at the Breast Care Center, call 924-9333.
to read more articles about how radiology can positively impact mens health.
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Fact #: You Can Lower Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Regular screenings appropriate for your risk level is the number one way to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Other ways to lower your risk are:
Maintain a healthy weight. Data show that weight gain as an adult is linked with a higher rate of breast cancer. Exercise regularly. Reduce alcohol consumption. The ACS recommends no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
Learn more about breast cancer care at NewYork-Presbyterian.
Luona Sun, M.D. , is a board-certified breast surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and an assistant professor of surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is trained in minimally invasive nipple sparing mastectomy, skin sparing mastectomy, intraoperative radiation therapy, and various frontline localization skills. Dr. Sun is also an active researcher, focusing on rare diagnoses like small cell carcinoma in breast cancer and high-risk lesion management in patients with coexisting cancer. One of her major research interests is in Asian American breast cancer disparities.
Early Detection Can Mean The Difference Between Life And Death
Early detection and treatment of breast cancer is key to a higher survival rate. When people are diagnosed early and begin receiving the right treatment as soon as they are diagnosed, the survival rate is 96 percent for most. The earlier the condition is found, the more likely you are to beat it. Having regular screenings is the most important part of being proactive about your health.
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How Fast Does Breast Cancer Grow
Studies show that even though breast cancer happens more often now than it did in the past, it doesnt grow any faster than it did decades ago. On average, breast cancers double in size every 180 days, or about every 6 months. Still, the rate of growth for any specific cancer will depend on many factors.
Fact #: A Full Mastectomy Is Not The Only Treatment Option
According to Dr. Sun, there are many newer procedures now available to treat breast cancer compared to several decades ago. There are other options to explore than the full removal of the breast.
We have newer breast conserving options now like partial mastectomy, lumpectomy , nipple-sparing mastectomy, and skin-sparing mastectomy, says Dr. Sun. There are also breast reconstruction procedures that can happen at the same time when the breast are removed.
In addition to more advanced surgical options, researchers are developing new drugs with very promising results. For instance, certain estrogen blocking drugs, which are typically used to help treat breast cancer, might also help prevent it. This kind of drug treatment is for a patient who does not have a diagnosis of cancer, but has been deemed as a high risk, adds Dr. Sun.
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In The 14th Century Breast Cancer Was Known As The Disease Of:
Back then, the condition was so common among religious women, most of whom had no children, that it became known as nunsâ disease.
Women who have many children and get pregnant at a younger age have a lower risk. That may be because pregnancy reduces a womanâs total number of periods. Scientists think having more period-related hormones may raise the chances of getting breast cancer.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight Reduces The Risk
Managing your weight and nutrition can positively affect many areas, including disease prevention. When you are healthy, your body is under less stress and is, therefore, better able to fight infection and maintain optimal health. Being overweight, in contrast, can slow your bodys response and strength, causing vulnerabilities to longer-term illnesses.
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Brca1 And Brca2 Mutations Are High
One of the lesser-known breast cancer facts is that breast cancer is often linked to other cancers. In the case of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, there is also an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
When breast cancer is not treated it can spread to other parts of the body. Metastasis is when disease spreads from one part of the body to another part. When breast cancer spreads it is called metastatic breast cancer and typically spreads to the bones, liver, lungs and brain.
Sometimes breast cancer is only detected after the symptoms of the lung, brain or liver cancer become apparent. Early diagnosis through self-examination is important to treat breast cancer before it spreads to other parts of the body.
Less Than 20% Of Lumps Found In A Womens Breasts Are Breast Cancer
Its one of the most important breast cancer facts that most breast cancer is detected by a woman feeling a lump in her breast. However, less than 20% of lumps are cancerous. There are many benign breast diseases, such as mastitis, that can cause similar symptoms.
This does not mean that someone should avoid seeking treatment when they feel a lump in their breast. There should be less fear of the lump being cancerous, but all precautions should be taken. Breast cancer affects women of all ages, and all lumps that are found should be reported to a doctor.
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Fact : Wasp Dung Was Used As A Treatment For Breast Cancer
Insect faeces featured heavily in ancient remedies for breast cancer. An Egyptian papyrus recommended a mixture of cowâs brain and wasp dung to be applied to breast tumours for four days. Insect faeces were still considered one of the most advanced treatments for breast cancer up until the Middle Ages. Thankfully, treatments have advanced a great deal since then.
Six Surprising Facts About Breast Cancer
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to breast cancer, it can ease your fears and maybe even save your life. While breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, there are still some things you may not know about it. Here are six lesser-known facts about breast cancer you should know.
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Fact : Shift Work May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that women who worked night shifts for 30 years or more were twice as likely to develop breast cancer. However, women who work nights are advised not to panic. Itâs worth noting that no link was found between higher breast cancer risk and periods of night work which were shorter than 30 years.
All photography is for illustrative purposes only and all persons depicted are models.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
There are many different signs and symptoms of breast cancer, so regularly checking your breasts for anything different or new is important.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. Getting to know what your breasts look and feel like normally means its easier to spot any unusual changes and check them with your doctor. Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit. You might feel the lump, but not see it.
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast
- A change in skin texture i.e. puckering or dimpling of the skin
- A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
- Rash, crusting or changes to the nipple
- Any unusual discharge from either nipple
Over a third of women in the UK do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer.
According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Breast Cancer Now, a third of those who do check their breasts for possible signs and symptoms dont feel confident that they would notice a change.
Asked what stops or prevents them from checking their breasts more regularly, over half forgetting to check, over a third not being in the habit of checking, a fifth not feeling confident in checking their breasts, not knowing how to check , not knowing what to look for and being worried about finding a new or unusual change .
Some factors are outside our control, including:
Important Breast Cancer Facts
1. Breast cancer is more common than you realize. According to American Cancer Society , breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, second only to skin cancer. The average U.S. woman has about a 12 percent risk of breast cancer in her lifetime. That means 1 in 8 women will develop the disease. In 2018, it’s estimated that over 330,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed
2. Ethnicity plays a role. Breast cancer is more common among white women and African American women. While the rates for white women have stabilized, the rates of breast cancer in African American women have increased slightly in recent years
3. It can be more than a lump. A breast lump is the most common symptom, but its not the only one that signals breast cancer. Signs can also include
- Swelling of part or all of the breast
- Skin irritation
- Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk
Women often find symptoms on their own. Thats why its so important to know how your breasts look and feel normally.
4. Symptoms can be outside the breast. Breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes. It can cause swelling or a lump around the collarbone or under the arm before the original tumor in the breast is even big enough to be felt. Your doctor should check any swollen lymph nodes, even if theyre painless.
Does Stress Cause Breast Cancer
They have found no evidence that those who are more stressed are more likely to get cancer. Some people wonder whether stress causes breast cancer. But overall, the evidence for this has been poor. And a large study of over 100,000 women in the UK in 2016 showed no consistent evidence between stress and breast cancer.
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