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Breast cancer in men

Breast cancer is often thought of as something that only affects women, but men can get it in rare cases. It develops in the small amount of breast tissue men have behind their nipples.

It usually occurs in men over 60, but can very occasionally affect younger men.

Symptoms of breast cancer in men

Signs of breast cancer in men include:

Read more about the symptoms of breast cancer in men.

When to see your GP

See your GP if you have:

It's very unlikely you have cancer, but it's best to get checked out. Your GP will examine your breast and can refer you for tests and scans for breast cancer if needed.

If you do not have symptoms but have a clear family history of breast cancer, your GP may refer you to a genetic specialist to discuss your risk of getting it.

There are some inherited genes that increase your risk of cancer and a blood test can be done to check for these. Read about testing for cancer risk genes.

Treatments for breast cancer in men

The treatment for breast cancer in men depends on how far the cancer has spread.

Possible treatments include:

Many men have surgery followed by one or more of the other treatments. This can help stop the cancer coming back in the future.

Read more about treatments for breast cancer in men.

Outlook for breast cancer in men

The outlook for breast cancer in men varies depending on how far it has spread by the time it's diagnosed.

It may be possible to cure breast cancer it it's caught at an early stage.

A cure is much less likely if the cancer isn't found until it has spread beyond the breast. In these cases, treatment can relieve your symptoms and help you live longer.

Speak to your breast care nurse if you'd like to know more about the outlook for your cancer.

Causes of breast cancer in men

The exact cause of breast cancer in men is not known, but there are some things that increase your risk of getting it.

These include:

It's not certain if you can do anything to reduce your risk, but eating a balanced dietlosing weight if you're overweight and not drinking too much alcohol may help.