One study found that male breast cancer is on the rise, with a 25% increase over the 25 years from 1973 to 1988. But it's still rare. It's unclear whether the reported rise means the disease is slowly becoming more common, or whether men better understand the symptoms and report their symptoms, leading to diagnoses that might have been missed in the past.
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
an inverted nipple
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
It's important to note that enlargement of both breasts (not just on one side) is usually NOT cancer. The medical term for this is gynecomastia. Sometimes the breasts can become quite large. Non-cancer-related enlargement of the breasts can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol use, weight gain, or m...
After an abnormality of the breast is found, tests are performed to see if the problem is cancer. One or all of these tests might be done:
Mammogram: A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Two pictures are taken of the breast after it is compressed between two glass plates. One image is shot from the top and the second picture is taken from the side. A radiologist will look at the pictures and determine if anything looks abnormal. He or she may then decide to get other pictures of a certain area. These are called spot or magnification views.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound sends high-frequency sound waves through your breast and converts them into images on a viewing screen. Ultrasound complements other tests. If an abnormality is seen on mammography or felt by physical exam, ultrasound is the best way to find out if the abnormality is solid (such as a benign fibroadenoma or a cancer) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst). Ultrasound cannot determine whether a solid lump is cancer...
When the doctor told Mike Singer in 2010 that his biopsy had tested positive for breast cancer, he turned to his wife with an expletive and a request for an explanation.
How could a man have breast cancer?
Along with the shock that every cancer patient feels on hearing the words, “You have cancer,” Mike was in disbelief that he could have a “woman’s disease.” Although he knew he had a family history of the disease because his sister Joanne had died of metastatic breast cancer two years earlier, Mike hadn’t worried when he first noticed a lump near his nipple.
He didn’t even mention the lump when he saw the doctor for a check-up. At a follow-up visit, he thought to mention that he had had a lump for several months. As soon as the doctor felt the lump the size of a pencil eraser, he sent Mike for a needle biopsy. That biopsy was unsuccessful, so a surgica...
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