Breast Cancer in Male

Breast Cancer in Male

Breast Cancer in Male, Every year, between 600 and 700 men fall ill with what is known as female cancer. That accounts for around one percent of all breast cancer cases. The small number of stakeholders has not prioritized research in this area. Most of the diagnostic and therapeutic experience has been collected in women and has simply been transferred to the men’s situation. Also offers of help, which are specially tailored to men with breast cancer, hardly exist so far.

Since there are no breast cancer screening programs for men, breast cancer in men is usually diagnosed at much later stages than in women. In addition, in men with problems in the chest, the thought of breast cancer is initially far away. The additional time that elapses before the therapy can be started is missing to the patient. Because even here, the earlier the disease is recognized, the better the chances of recovery.

Genesis of breast cancer in male

But where does the cancer come from? How can it be that the man who obviously lacks the secondary sexual characteristics has the same clinical picture?

The common physical basis for men to also get breast cancer is the rudimentary appearance of male milk ducts. Until puberty, the breast is almost identical in boys and girls. Only through the female sex hormones, the milk ducts and the connective and fatty tissue in the girls begin to grow. But the milk ducts remain rudimentary even in men and this is exactly where 80 percent of all breast cancer cases have their trigger, since the milk duct cells are particularly vulnerable to the development of breast cancer. The lesser extent of the milk ducts is also responsible for the reason for the rare occurrence of breast cancer in men.

In the majority of cases, breast cancer develops from elevated estrogen levels. Both men and women have estrogen in their hormonal balance, although the proportion of female sex hormones in men is much lower than in women. Estrogens are produced, inter alia, with the help of the enzyme aromatase by the conversion of other hormonal precursors, such as testosterone. This process takes place mainly in the fatty tissue, but also in the testes female hormones are produced.

Breast Cancer in Male
Breast Cancer in Male

Causes of increased estrogen levels in men are severe obesity or liver disease as well as the ingestion of performance-enhancing hormones. Incidentally, it is the same factors as in female breast cancer, which can also influence the development of breast cancer – for example, an increased radiation exposure or high alcohol consumption.

Men with Klinefelter syndrome are more prone to breast cancer, a gene mutation in which the male has one or more additional X chromosomes. Other genetic strains such as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes may increase the risk of breast cancer in men. [5] For men with BRCA mutations, there is even an early detection program according to the AGO Mamma .

Symptoms, diagnosis and therapy

Symptoms of male breast cancer include inflammation and nodules in the chest that do not heal, as well as hardened or enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit. Other warning signs may be leakage of fluid from the nipple and withdrawal of the breast or nipple. At an advanced stage, breast cancer in men may be the result of skeletal metastasis-induced bone pain, weight loss, decreased performance, coughing, dyspnea, and even jaundice or liver weakness.

If these symptoms occur, the same tests are usually performed as in women with suspected breast cancer. However, ultrasound and mammography studies are often not very meaningful due to the denser tissue in males. Changes do not stand out as clearly as in the female, softer tissue. A biopsy is the next diagnostic step; a tissue sample is taken and examined.

If cancer is actually diagnosed, it is important to remove all affected tissue and lymph nodes that surround it. With 35 to 40 percent likelihood, cancer cells can already be detected there. As men have significantly less breast tissue than women, the entire breast often needs to be removed. The surgical procedure is almost always followed by radiation, chemo or antibody therapy to put an end to any remaining cancer cells in the body. Since breast cancer cells in men, however, usually grow hormone-dependent, offers a hormone therapy.

Once the therapy has started, the risk of relapse and chances of recovery are similar to those of female breast cancer. The decisive factor is always the stage in which the disease is discovered.

Is the male different from the female breast cancer?

There are some triggers that can occur especially in men. For example, undescended testicles, previous testicular inflammation or epididymitis are risk factors that occur specifically in men. Another special feature is the estrogen receptors, which are mostly located on the surface of male breast cancer cells, whereby the cancer cells grow hormone-dependent.

What offers for patients this range?

In recent years, breast cancer has been tabooed among men, there are several self-help groups and websites where men share their testimonials. It has long been as unknown as it was a few years ago that men can also develop breast cancer. The Center for Health Communication and Health Services Research at the University Hospital Bonn is also currently conducting the N-Male study, which deals specifically with the needs of male cancer patients. The treatment centers are still the certified breast cancer centers, and advice and information is available from the Cancer Counseling Centers of the National Cancer Society. For some years now, men have been admitted to breast cancer studies, but there are hardly any studies exclusively with men.