With October comes the sea of pink. The world practically paints itself neon to remind women to schedule their annual mammogram. From pink light bulbs in driveways to high school sports teams changing the color of their jerseys for a night, we have constant reminders. And reminders are good. Early detection helps increase survival rates and successful treatments dramatically. What we don’t talk too much about though, is breast cancer in men.
Many people believe that breast cancer can only affect women. This is not the case. Although breast cancer in men is far less common than breast cancer in women, it still happens. Just under 1% of diagnosed breast cancer cases involve men. Gender doesn’t exclude someone from developing breast cancer, although it does play a role.
Detecting breast cancer in males is quite similar to detecting breast cancer in women. Many men may feel a thickening or a lump in their breast. It may be uncomfortable to touch. Men should conduct monthly breast exams just as women do. To learn more about conducting a breast exam, click here.
Other symptoms may include discharge from the nipple, changes to the skin covering the breast, and changes to the nipple.
While breast cancer in males is rare, 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be genetic. This is due to gene mutations. Even if breast cancer does not directly impact a male, there is a chance he could pass genes along to his children that could impact their health. It is important for males to take routine steps to aid in the early detection of breast cancer.
Because breast cancer is rare in males, screening mammography guidelines do not include men. Men should only have a mammogram when they have a symptom of breast cancer.
If you have a symptom of breast cancer, contact your physician to obtain an order for a DIAGNOSTIC mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms are mammograms designed to work up a specific symptom and may be accompanied by an ultrasound.
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