Even though men don’t have breasts like women, they do have a small amount of breast tissue. The ‘breasts’ of an adult male are similar to the beasts of a girl before puberty. In girls, this tissue grows, and develops, but, in men, it doesn’t. However, because it is still breast tissue, breast cancer in men still happens. Unfortunately, many men don’t realize that it is possible.
Because ThermApproach believes in healthy breasts for both women and men, we thought it prudent to take some time to educate men on the topic of breast cancer.
Doctors used to think that breast cancer in men was more severe than it was in women, but, it now seems that it’s about the same. The major problem is that breast cancer in men is often diagnosed later than breast cancer in women. This may be because men are less likely to be suspicious of something strange in that area. Also, their small amount of breast tissue is harder to feel, making it more difficult to catch these cancers early. It also means tumors can spread more quickly to surrounding tissues.
There are a number of symptoms that can suggest that a man has breast cancer. It’s important to note, however, that all of them could be caused by other conditions too, so if a man experiences any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to see your doctor who can then advise on any further tests necessary. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the long-term prospects.
Most commonly, the first symptom that men experience is a painless (but not always) lump around the nipple where most of the breast tissue is in a man’s breast. Lumps can present in other parts of the chest also. Other symptoms include:
· Some changes in the nipple
· Skin dimpling or puckering
· Nipple retraction (turning inward)
· Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
· Discharge and/or blood from the nipple
· The nipple could become tender and/or painful
· Swelling of the breast or a lump in the armpit
· An ulcer or sore on the breast
· Occasionally, the first symptom that a man notices are swollen lymph node under the arm
It’s rare for a man under the age of 35 to get breast cancer. The chances of breast cancer occurrence in a male goes up, and typically presents, between the ages of 65-70. Things that can raise the odds of male breast cancer include:
· Breast cancer in a close female relative
· History of radiation exposure of the chest
· Enlargement of breasts from drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections or poisons
· Have taken, or are taking estrogen
· Severe liver disease i.e., cirrhosis
· Diseases of the testicles such as mumps orchitis, a testicular injury, or an undescended testicle[i]
According to breast oncologist Suleiman Massarweh, M.D., ‘Limited data exist on the molecular biology, treatment, and outcomes of breast cancer in men, and much of our understanding in this area remains largely an extrapolation from data in women with breast cancer.’ [ii]
Why is that important? As stated at the beginning of this article, ThermApproach believes in healthy breasts. Not just in women, but, also in men. We believe that screening is an important tool to understand physiological changes, and there is no reason to not have your breast health checked yearly. We cannot encourage you enough to get your screening done.
At ThermAppoach, we utilize sophisticated infrared technology and innovative computer software to capture the images in the form of an infrared thermogram, or heat picture. All reports are interpreted by medical doctors that are Board Certified in Thermology.
Before you can feel it, thermal imaging can see it. Please call our office to schedule your screening today.