Breast Cancer in Men

Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor.

  • What is Breast Cancer in Men?

    While Breast Cancer in Men is uncommon, it is not unheard of. Breast cancer in men accounts for around 1% of all breast cancer occurrences in Australia.

    Men have significantly less breast tissue compared with women; however this tissue, which is mostly located behind the nipple, makes them susceptible to cancer.

    Breast cancer in men is the same disease as that which affects women. Male breast cancer can be early or advanced at diagnosis.

    The most common types of male breast cancer include: early breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma, Paget’s disease of the nipple, inflammatory breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).

    There are a number of factors that increase a man’s risk of developing breast cancer:

    • Like women, a man’s risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
    • A known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
    • A strong family history of breast cancer
    • Elevated oestrogen levels
    • Past radiotherapy treatment particularly of the chest area.
  • Breast cancer in men symptoms

    The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a painless lump in the breast close to the nipple.

    Other possible symptoms include:

    • Discharge from the nipple.
    • A change in the shape or appearance of the nipple.
    • A change in the shape or appearance of the breast, such as swelling or dimpling and/or pain.
    • Swollen lymph nodes under the arm.
  • Breast cancer in men treatment

    Treatment for breast cancer in men involves most of the same options as for women – surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. However, there are variations as to how these treatments are carried out.

    The most common type of surgery for men with breast cancer is a mastectomy, where the whole breast is removed. Breast conserving surgery, where only the part of the breast with the cancer is removed, is generally not suitable due to the lack of breast tissue in men.

    The most common hormone therapy recommended for men with breast cancer is tamoxifen.

Breast cancer statistics in men

  • 86.5%

    is the five-year survival rate for breast cancer in Australian men

  • 72.2

    years is the median age of breast cancer diagnosis in Australian men

  • 212

    new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2022

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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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