Breast cancer in men is rare, but 1% of all breast cancers will occur in men each year. Cancer researchers have projected that breast cancer will affect approximately 2,360 men in 2014. These male breast cancer diagnoses could result in about 400 male deaths from the disease (compared with nearly 40,000 female deaths).
Lack of awareness of the disease in men often results in later diagnosis. Men who notice an unusual lump generally don’t even consider that it could be breast cancer, and therefore don’t get it checked out until it has advanced or changed in some way.
It’s important to remember that early detection is key to survival for men, just as it is for women. While researchers don’t feel that the risk for men is high enough to enforce the level of early testing that exists for women, it is important for men to be aware of their risk.
Some symptoms that can raise a red flag for men include unexplainable weight loss, fever, or fatigue. Indeed, these are broad symptoms that can be symptomatic of many illnesses. But if these symptoms are present, an overall checkup is advised. The more obvious symptoms that might indicate breast cancer would be breast lumps and enlarged lymph nodes. These should never be ignored.
Finally, don’t let fear keep you from getting checked out. Breast tissue in men is considerably smaller than in women, making it easier to notice when a lump is present. Many times, as with women, the lumps are not cancerous. Only a health care professional can make this determination. Remember, early diagnosis is key to a better prognosis.