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Breast Cancer In Men

Health Education & Information
with your favorite charity organization: I Will Survive, Inc.

Breast Cancer in Men!

Men Supporting I Will Survive• Genetic factors have a role in breast cancer diagnosis that can make up
about 11%-20%. The breast cancer gene or BRCA (1 & 2) gene can come
from mother or father. Men with the BRCA2 gene have a higher risk.
• Richard Roundtree is a famous actor that came out about his diagnosis
in 1993 and thought it was a woman’s disease. Other known men who
survived and passed away from the disease are Rod Roddy, Edward
Brooke, Peter Criss, Montel Williams, and Ernie Green.
• Paget disease may be associated with DCIS or with infiltrating ductal
carcinoma (type of breast cancer). It accounts for about 1% of female
breast cancers and a higher percentage of male breast cancers.
• The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) mandated
that reconstructive breast surgery for women and men who have
undergone mastectomy be covered by their benefits for those who have
opted to have breast reconstruction. In individuals who have
undergone a medically necessary lumpectomy, surgery to create a more
normal anatomy is considered reconstructive.
• The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the
United States for 2017 are:
1. About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed
2. About 460 men will die from breast cancer

Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among
women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been
fairly stable over the last 30 years.

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Like African American women, African American men are hit harder by
breast cancer than their white counterparts. After diagnosis, African
American men are three times more likely to die from breast cancer than
white men. This difference is probably due to the same factors suggested by
research involving African American women.

Prevention: Reduce risk factors for men by exercising regularly, eating
a balanced diet, increase intake in cancer fighting foods (kale, broccoli,
turmeric, etc.), stop or limit alcohol intake, quit or not smoking, and
reduce radiation exposure. We can’t prevent genetics or aging, but stay
informed with your primary care provider should you see or feel
anything abnormal. Genetic testing/counseling may also be available
with your insurance.

A number of factors can increase a man’s risk of getting breast cancer:
1. Growing older: This is the biggest factor. Just as is the case for women,
risk increases as age increases. The average age of men diagnosed with
breast cancer is about 68.

2. High estrogen levels: Breast cell growth — both normal and abnormal
— is stimulated by the presence of estrogen. Men can have high
estrogen levels as a result of:

a. taking hormonal medicines

b. being overweight, which increases the production of estrogen

c. having been exposed to estrogens in the environment (such as
estrogen and other hormones fed to fatten up beef cattle, or the
breakdown products of the pesticide DDT, which can mimic the
effects of estrogen in the body)

d. being heavy users of alcohol, which can limit the liver’s ability to
regulate blood estrogen levels

e. having liver disease, which usually leads to lower levels of
androgens (male hormones) and higher levels of estrogen (female
hormones). This increases the risk of developing gynecomastia
(breast tissue growth that is non-cancerous) as well as breast
cancer.

3. Klinefelter syndrome: Men with Klinefelter syndrome have lower levels
of androgens (male hormones) and higher levels of estrogen (female
hormones). Therefore, they have a higher risk of developing
gynecomastia (breast tissue growth that is non-cancerous) and breast
cancer. Klinefelter syndrome is a condition present at birth that affects
about 1 in 1,000 men. Normally men have a single X and single Y
chromosome. Men with Klinefelter syndrome have more than one X
chromosome (sometimes as many as four). Symptoms of Klinefelter
syndrome include having longer legs, a higher voice, and a thinner
beard than average men; having smaller than normal testicles; and
being infertile (unable to produce sperm).

4. A strong family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations: Family
history can increase the risk of breast cancer in men — particularly if
other men in the family have had breast cancer. The risk is also higher if
there is a proven breast cancer gene abnormality in the family. Men who
inherit abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (BR stands for BReast, and CA
stands for CAncer) have an increased risk of male breast cancer. The
lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 1% with
the BRCA1 gene mutation and 6% with the BRCA2 gene mutation.
Because of this strong association between male breast cancer and an
abnormal BRCA2 gene, first-degree relatives (siblings, parents, and
children) of a man diagnosed with breast cancer may want to ask their
doctors about genetic testing for abnormal breast cancer genes. Still, the
majority of male breast cancers happen in men who have no family
history of breast cancer and no inherited gene abnormality.

5. Radiation exposure: If a man has been treated with radiation to the
chest, such as for lymphoma, he has an increased risk of developing
breast cancer.

• Research: Men with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood were
about 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men with the
lowest estrogen levels. Now an international study has found that men
with naturally high levels of estrogen may have a higher-than-average
risk of breast cancer. Read the abstract of “Prediagnostic Sex Steroid
Hormones in Relation to Male Breast Cancer Risk.”

• Symptoms: If you notice any persistent changes to your breasts, you
should contact your doctor. Here are some signs to watch for:
a lump felt in the breast nipple pain an inverted nipple (common in male breast cancer)
nipple discharge (clear or bloody)
sores on the nipple and areola (the small ring of color around the
center of the nipple)
enlarged lymph nodes under the arm

• Post-Diagnosis: The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998
(WHCRA) mandated that reconstructive breast surgery for women and
men who have undergone mastectomy be covered by their benefits for
those who have opted to have breast reconstruction. In individuals who
have undergone a medically necessary lumpectomy, surgery to create a
more normal anatomy is considered reconstructive.

The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the
United States for 2017 are:

About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed
About 460 men will die from breast cancer

Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among
women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been
fairly stable over the last 30 years.

Stay connected for more health education and information
about our programs on social media. @IWillSurviveInc

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