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Breast Cancer in Men

Breast cancer is not only a women's illness. Even though it happens more often in women, about one out of every 1,000 men will get breast cancer in his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and can also get breast cancer. It is found less often in men because their breast cells are less developed than those of women and not exposed to as much estrogen, a hormone that promotes growth.

Risk Factors

Some of the same factors that may affect women may also affect men:

  • Are 60 to 70 years old
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Radiation exposure
  • Heavy alcohol intake
  • Liver disease
  • Estrogen treatment
  • Being overweight

Even though male breast cancer is most common in older men, it can occur at any age.

As with breast cancer in women, early detection is key. Men should see their doctor if they notice any unusual signs or symptoms, including:

  • A breast lump or thickening of the breast tissue
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Changes to the skin or nipple, including redness or scaling

Maintaining an ideal body weight and restricting alcohol are two things a man can do to lower his chances for this cancer.

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society's online Detailed Guide: Breast Cancer in Men .

Sources: National Cancer Institute , American Cancer Society , Mayo Clinic

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