All people, whether male or female, are born with some breast cells and tissue. Even though males do not develop milk-producing breasts, a man’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. However, male cancer is very rare among men. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Below are the risk causes or factors of breast cancer in men according to the Breast Cancer Now website.
AGE: The most important risk factor is increasing age. Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, although younger men can be affected. This does not strike out the possibility of younger men getting infected.
FAMILY HISTORY: The most common altered genes that increase the risk of breast cancer are called BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA stands for BReast CAncer). BRCA2 is more commonly associated with breast cancer in men. If you have inherited an altered gene, your risk of developing breast cancer (and possibly other cancers) increases, but the increased risk of breast cancer is still less than women in the general population. If you have children, or are planning to have children, each of them will also have a 50% chance of inheriting the altered gene.
RADIATION: Men who have had previous radiotherapy to the chest, for example, to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease), may have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. This increased risk is related to the long-term effects of radiation on normal healthy tissue, not because anything has gone wrong with the treatment.
HIGH OESTROGEN LEVEL: Some breast cancers are stimulated to grow by hormones. Oestrogen is the main hormone linked to breast cancer development. All men have a small amount of oestrogen. There are some evidences that men are at greater risk of developing breast cancer if they have higher than normal levels of oestrogen. High oestrogen levels can occur in men because of:
- long-term liver damage, particularly cirrhosis
- obesity (being very overweight)
- some genetic conditions, for example, Klinefelter’s syndrome.
If you notice any strange growth around your breast area as a man, consult your DOCTOR. Early diagnosis is very important.