From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

October 26, 2021

In recent years, incidences of male breast cancer have increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one out of every 100 breast cancer cases in the US is diagnosed in a male. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,650 breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in men this year.

Unfortunately, a study published one year ago in the CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report revealed that approximately half of males diagnosed with breast cancer during 2007-2016 received their diagnosis after it had already spread. The five-year relative survival rate is lower for these individuals than it is for those diagnosed with localized disease. This is most likely because men are not typically aware of the same breast cancer prevention practices as women, and points to the importance of risk factor, symptom, and screening awareness.

One major cause of male breast cancer is genetic predisposition. To help, OHC offers genetic counseling and testing through its Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing Program (GREAT), and we conduct genetic testing on every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient. You do not have to be an OHC patient to request an evaluation in the program. The same genes that raise breast cancer risks in women, BRCA1 and BRCA2, work similarly in men. Furthermore, men have a higher rate of genetic mutations than women. Genetic testing may lead to an earlier diagnosis and better treatment outcomes.

What should men know about the risks of breast cancer? In addition to genetic mutations and a family history of disease, there are several breast cancer risk factors for males:

  • Increasing age
  • Obesity and physical inactivity
  • Liver disease
  • Some testicular conditions
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Radiation exposure
  • Klinefelter syndrome (males born with an extra X chromosome)

Like women, men have breast tissue, glands, and ducts. Men should be familiar with how their breasts look and feel and report any changes to their doctors. Breast cancer symptoms in men are similar to those in women and include:

  • A lump or thickening in the breast or underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or pulling in of the breast
  • Nipple pain and/or discharge
  • Scaly, flaky, red, or irritated breast skin

When detected early, male breast cancer is highly curable. Men should report breast changes to their doctors, provide their family history, and request training in self-exams. Those at high risk should receive yearly clinical exams beginning at age 35.

OHC’s specialists are leaders in treating both female and male breast cancer. For more information on OHC’s GREAT Program or to request an appointment with one of our Cancer Genetic Specialists, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit

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