Although many people think breast cancer only affects women, men can also develop the disease. But a diagnosis is rare. Around 390 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK compared with over 55,000 women. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of beating it, so make sure you look out for any unusual changes and get these checked by your doctor straight away.
The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a lump behind or near to the nipple, although the lump may not have always been in this area.
It’s important to be aware of other symptoms, which include:
- Nipple discharge which is often bloodstained, or nipple sores.
- A tender or drawn in/ inverted nipple.
- Ulceration or swelling of the chest area.
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm.
BREAST CANCER: KNOW THE RISK FACTORS
- We know that age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer in men. Risk increases with age and most men who are diagnosed are over 60.
- Your risk is higher if you have a significant family history of the disease. Speak to your GP if you’re concerned about this.
- People who are obese have higher levels of the hormone oestrogen in their body and this can play a part in the growth of breast cancer cells.
- Chronic liver damage and some genetic conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome can also raise oestrogen levels and therefore risk.
- Radiotherapy to the chest, for example to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, may slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.