When first diagnosed with breast cancer, many men are in shock. Yes, I said men. Isn’t breast cancer a women’s disease? Not always and it needs to be taken just as serious if you were a women.

Breast cancer in men is rare, but unfortunately it does happen. The ratio of female to male breast cancer in the US is 100 to1. That means in 2009, roughly 1,910 men were diagnosed with the disease and 440 may have died from it.

The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are:

• A lump in the chest area
• Skin dimpling or puckering
• Nipple changes

Because breast cancer is much more common in women, many men don’t realize that they can develop it as well. Men and women have the same survival rate, but because the male breast is much smaller than the female breast, the disease could be more likely to spread to the chest wall.

There are a few known risk factors for men developing the disease. They are:

• Genetic condition such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, that is associated with high estrogen levels
• Family members with (male or female) with breast cancer, especially with a BRCA2 mutation
• Chronic liver disorders, alcoholism or obesity
• Getting older

The types of beast cancer found in men are the same as those found in women. The stages and the patterns of how the disease spreads are the same. So the treatments for men are generally the same, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or hormone therapy. A mastectomy is also a treatment in men.

For more information about male breast cancer, please contact the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization or the American Cancer Society.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a mammogram, please contact Diagnostic Imaging Associates at (716) 633-1902.