Men and Breast Cancer

2400 New Cases per Year (2007)

January 2008 We received an email from a man with a concern about exposures received Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base NC, and similar locations. See his story below under the section "Exposures that Increase Risk".

Were you at Camp Lejeune?

Anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune in 1987 or before can register with the Marine Corps for a health study. To register or to get more information, visit or call toll-free (877) 261-9782.

Also, a private Web site,, which is unaffiliated with the Marines, offers a wide variety of information.

Male Breast Cancer Numbers Increasing, August 2007

Male breast cancers now amount to 0.6% of all reported breast cancers, with a total rise of 25% in the last quarter century. According to researchers, more bad news is that many doctors don't even know to look for breast cancer in men. Usually the cancer is in an advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed.

Breast cancer has grown dramatically in the last quarter century for both men and women. Although researchers are still stumped at the cause for the increase, it is believed that obesity and increased exposure to food and environmental estrogenic compounds may be at play. The University Of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Breast cancer remains a tiny risk in men, but the number of cases in the United States climbed by 26 percent between 1973 and 1998, according to a new study - the largest to date - on more than 2,500 American men with the disease. It was published Monday in the online version of Cancer, the American Cancer Society's journal.

January 2000

Although widely believed to be a disease that exclusively affects women, about 1 percent of breast cancer patients are men. Some 1,600 new cases are diagnosed in United States each year, and about 400 men will die of the disease.

Survivors say the widespread ignorance about the disease is sometimes tough to handle.

"The doctor I went to said I shouldn't worry about it, even though I have a family history of breast cancer," said Max Monaco, a 59-year-old from New Jersey who found a lump in his breast and ended up having a radical mastectomy, followed by weeks of radiation. "The unawareness in the medical field is pathetic."

"In our experience, the doctors have been wonderful," said Paula Beaulieu, whose father, James Lowery, has battled the disease for the past two years. "But not everybody's experience has been that way. Doctors often don't accept that a man, especially a young one, can have breast cancer."

Deadly Shame

When male breast cancer survivors tell their stories, it's remarkable to hear them discuss terms � mammograms, lumpectomy, tamoxifen, reconstructive surgery � that have become associated so completely with women. In some ways, it's no surprise: Breast cancer accounts for some 26 percent of malignancies in women, but only 0.2 percent of malignancies in men.

Recovering patients say the exceeding rarity of male breast cancer, combined with shame and a reluctance to talk by many who suffer from it, contributes to a deadly silence about the disease. Tumors are often caught later in men, sometimes resulting in the cancer spreading to other organs.

"Most men are ashamed about it. They don't want to talk about it," said Lowery, 75, a former maintenance mechanic who lives in Arizona. "If the conversation gets around to where I can get a word in, I tell everyone I see about it. Their eyes get big and they say, 'What do mean? You can't get breast cancer!'"

"People have it locked in their minds that women have breasts and men just have chests," said Dave Lyons, a Portland, Ore., resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was only 33. "But there's also a testosterone problem: Men have this thing, like, 'We're too strong to get breast cancer.'"

Gender Relations

The relationship between male and female breast cancer patients can also be complicated.

"Some women get indignant," said Lowery. "They say, 'This is what happens to us � you men don't get breast cancer.'"

Lyons wanted to participate in Portland's Race for the Cure 5K run, which benefits breast cancer research and honors survivors, with his wife and family. But race organizers balked, citing a policy that only women could run.

"The president of the Portland chapter eventually invited me and any other male breast cancer patients to run as honorary participants � after I went on a local radio show � so we participated," Lyons said. "But we felt shunned and discriminated against. I had the right to participate by virtue of what I had gone through � I wasn't hiding anything. I was there as a survivor."

But not all experiences have been negative. Monaco found an all-woman breast cancer support group.

"I happened to be in the hospital for a program for cancer patients, and I went into the wrong meeting room! I said, 'Hey, I don't know if I'm supposed to be here. But from there they adopted me � I was a guy they could relate to.'" After he had troubling aftereffects of chemotherapy, a member of his support group clued him in to the right medicine.

"These gals had so much courage," Monaco said. "Most of them had far worse cases than I did."

Risk Factors

Little research has been specifically done on male breast cancer, in part because the scarcity of cases makes it difficult to compile evidence. But it is known that a family history of breast cancer and a condition called gynecomastia, which causes breast growth, often in adolescent males, are risk factors.

Men with the BRCA2 gene are also prone to breast cancer, just like women, according to the National Cancer Institute. Lowery, like thousands of women, is on the drug tamoxifen for five years because the gene makes him prone to a relapse.

"I would suggest to any man or any wife that has a husband or a son to tell them if they have a lump in their breast, to for God's sakes get it checked out," Lowery said. Other danger signs include discharge from the nipple or an inverted nipple.

Although he still feels he was treated unfairly by some female breast cancer patients � "When I was getting chemo, several women just shunned me, and didn't want to interact!" Lowery said � he holds hope that breast cancer patients of both genders can unite behind a common cause.

"It's a human disease, whether you're a man or a woman," he said.

Ann's NOTE: There has been little research done on men and breast cancer. Usually studies on breast cancer include only women. This is an area for advocates to work on.

Thanks to Fox News

Exposures that Increase  Risk

Study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine 3/00

VOC, Camp LeJeune :Risk for Male Breast Ca
Use of Ultrasound-guided fine needle

Information presented May 2000 makes sense

Breast Masses and Fine-needle Aspiration in Men
Evaluation of FNA-Male Bca
FNA in Men
John W. Nick Foundation

Breast cancer stories from men a link

Lowered Sex Drive a Possible Factor

Study 10/00 British Journal of Cancer

SNLB in male breast cancer pts

Cancer (Online) January 2001

Secretory Carcinoma-Favorable Results
Lymph Node Status in Men
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy:Males w/Early Breast Ca
Sonographic Features of Bca in Men

Am Journal of Roentgenology February, 2001

Amplification/Overexpression of CCND1 MALE BCa
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) & Men with Heart Disease

None of these men had breast cancer

Anastrazole in Men (abstract only)
Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer

Acta Oncologica, 8/01

Risk Factors in Canadian Male Bca
Epidemiology & Aetiological Factors: eastern Turkey (Male Bca)
Risk Of Subsequent Cancer in Men
Luteinizing Hormone/H C G: Male Breast Tissue
Intrauterine Origin of Male Breast Cancer: Birth Order Denmark
Second New Cancer in Men w/Breast Cancer
Male Breast Cancer: Clinical & Biologic Indicators of Prognosis

Acta Oncologica, 8/01

Clinical Relevance of Biologic Factors in Male Bca
BRCA 1 and 2 in Male Bca
Mostly Estrogen Postive BCA:Hormone Therapy
Invasive Lobular CA-Case Report

Jpns J of Clinical Oncology,12/01

BRCA1/2 In Male Breast Cancer Study

Breast Cancer Res, 1/02

BRCA1/BRCA2 Male Bca & Gynecomastias
Male Sex Hormones & BRCA2 Suppress Tumors
Male Bca: Clinico-path Evaluation Bio Markers
Breast Cancer in Men: Summary of Knowledge

San Francisco Medical Society Online, 2001

72 kDa Glycoprotein:Male Bca Tumor Assoc Antigen
Breast Cancer in Men 2003
Experiences of Men w/Breast Ca
Incidence of Male Breast Cancer RISING
Men w/BCA Better Disease-Specific Survial than Women
Men w/BCa May Receive TOO Much Radiation
Male Bca in Israel-Some interesting findings

Cancer Online, 4/102

Racial/Ethnic Diff & Survival in Men with Bca

Cancer, 6/02

Former Sen Speaks on Bca: Urges Awareness
Subsequent Cancer After Bca/Men

JNCI, 9/02

Men with Breast & Prostate Cancer
Reconstruction (& Hemodialysis)

Anticancer Res, 7-8/02

Male Breast Cancer Incidence INCREASING

Annals of Surgical Oncology, 8/04

Mammography in Male Patients With Breast Symptoms
Male Breast Cancer

LINK to organization for men w/breast cancer

Male BCa: histologic subtypes & mets patterns 778 cases

Virchows Archiv, 10/06

Male Breast Cancer - San Antonio 2006

various abstracts from the meeting

Psychosocial outcomes for survivors of male breast cancer
Racial disparities in male breast cancer survival
Clinical & pathological correlations in male breast ca
IHC analysis male breast ca using tissue microarrays
Male Breast Cancer - West Africa

Pan Africa Medical Journal, 11/2009

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