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Men have small chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer


While the chance of a man being diagnosed with breast cancer is slim, it's not impossible.

Oct. 17-23 is Men's Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The American Cancer Society predicts around 2,800 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2023, and around 530 men will die.

The ACS reports men have about a 1-in-833 chance of being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. For comparison, women have a 1-in-8 chance.

Since the disease is so rare, annual screenings are not required for men. Because of this, D'Arcy Crane, associate director of development with the American Cancer Society, said men should pay close attention to their bodies.

"Men can get breast cancer because there is breast issue. But, there is less breast tissue, so it's easier to notice a small little lump or something," Crane said. "So, always just be aware of your body and get things checked out."

Other signs of breast cancer in men include:

  • Lumps or swelling
  • Nipple discharge
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipples turning inward
  • Redness or peeling of skin in the breast area

The American Cancer Society also reports the two largest risk factors for men are age and family history.

The average age of a man's diagnosis is 72 years old, and the chance of getting the disease increases as men age.

One-in-five men diagnosed with the disease have a family member who has also had the disease.

Ellis Fischel Breast Cancer Clinic Medical Director Dr. Debra Koivunen said that once a man is diagnosed with breast cancer, the treatment options are mostly the same as those for women. However, she said since most of men's breast tissue is behind their nipples, that tends to dictate the therapy they receive.

"For the most part, I think we just do mastectomies on them, because by the time we get the tumor out, they're going to look about the same as if we did a mastectomy," Koivunen said.

She said they will also have tumors tested to determine if they need chemotherapy, radiation or an anti-hormone pill.

Crane said both men and women can reduce their risk of getting breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding or limiting alcohol and being physically active.

Article Topic Follows: Health
breast cancer awareness
male breast cancer

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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