Breast cancer - male - patient education

Breast cancer - male - patient education

Oak Valley Health's patient education pages share the skills, knowledge, and habits patients and families need to know to cope with a daily health issue. We hope this information can influence patient behaviour to improve health outcomes and provide you with a sense of control and autonomy.

Learn more about the risks, causes, and treatment of breast cancer

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue in the breast also referred to as malignant. Malignant tumours are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. Males have a small amount of breast tissue, and although rare, can be affected by cancer. Breast cancer occurs in both men and women whereby less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men.

What can increase the risks of developing breast cancer?
  • Sixty years of age or older
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Medication containing estrogen
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Klinefelter syndrome (very rare inherited, genetic disorder)
  • Testicular issues or enlarged breasts (gynecomastia)
  • Hormone imbalances

** It is not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It’s likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.

What changes should I report to my doctor?
  • A painless lump around or near the nipple
  • Changes in size or shape of breast
  • Breast skin changes
  • Nipple abnormalities (ex. pointing inward or inverted)
  • Nipple discharge (ex. drainage, crusting, bleeding)
How is this treated?
  • Surgery (lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, or mastectomy)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
If you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, please contact your doctor or health care provider immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:
  • New or increasing pain
  • Weight loss
  • Notice a new lump
  • New swelling in arms or hands
  • Fevers
  • New or worsening fatigue
If you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, please get help immediately at your local Emergency Department if you are experiencing any of the following:
  • New or worsening chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizzy spells or fainting
Where can I get more information?

Reference: Breast Cancer, Male. (2021, May 27). Elsevier Inc: ClinicalKey for Nursing. Retrieved from here.