Breast Cancer: It's Not Just Women

Breast cancer rates in men on the rise


Symbolized by the pink ribbon, breast cancer and its effects on women have been well-publicized. But what about its effects on men?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 2,350 new cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed and about 440 men will die of breast cancer in 2015, according to USA Today.

Estimated cases of breast cancer in men are still relatively low, however, when compared to the 231,840 cases of breast cancer the ACS estimates will be diagnosed in women this year.

"The figure is approximately one in 1,000, so it’s far less than females, but typically men are diagnosed at a later stage," said Lynda Weeks, executive director of Susan G. Komen Louisville, per USA Today.

Susan G. Komen is one of the most prominent breast cancer research, education and advocacy organizations in the world.

Although breast cancer in men is relatively rare, Janell Seeger, MD, an oncologist at the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, KY, said that diagnosed cases have increased "up to 26 percent over the last 25 years," USA Today reports.

While the causes of breast cancer in men are not completely understood, certain risk factors have been identified. These include age, family history of breast cancer, inherited gene mutations, radiation exposure, heavy alcohol use, estrogen treatment, certain testicular conditions and obesity.

According to the ACS, treatment and survival rates are about the same for men and women.

"We have tons of data on how to treat women," Dr. Seeger said in an interview with USA Today. "The treatment recommendations from those studies seem to be very appropriate to men. We do mammograms and an ultrasound, then a biopsy — just like we do in women.”

Dr. Seeger added that early detection is critical for both men and women. Men should keep an eye out for any skin changes, sores that don’t heal, breast lumps and nipple discharge. Men with a family history of breast cancer should also perform regular self-exams.