Memo blog

Male Breast Cancer 101...

Let's talk about the risks of male breast cancer, spread awareness & promote early detection. #NotJustForGirls

Did you know… men can get breast cancer too?

While extremely rare, men can suffer from cancer of the breast. From a biological perspective, males don’t usually develop breast tissue, however,cancer can... and does occur.

Most breast enlargement in males is due to the harmless enlargement of breast tissue, a condition known as gynaecomastia or ‘man boobs’, and this condition occurs at puberty, with obesity and also comes with aging.

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Gynaecomastia is caused when oestrogen increases and upsets the testosterone ratio in males, and the possible causes are numerous – even genetic.

One percent of breast cancer occurs in men, with higher rates in men with a family history of breast cancer or previous chest radiation.

What to do

Examine your chest area and try to feel the underlying tissue for any irregular, hard or fixed breast tissue. If you notice any ulceration, or if your nipple starts to look abnormal (it puckers up, inverts or changes position) this might be cause for concern, and you’ll need to go see your doctor immediately.

Because of the stigma attached to patients suffering from gynaecomastia, men typically have more advanced breast cancer at diagnosis than women, but the medical treatment is similar to that of women suffering from breast cancer.

Possible symptoms of breast cancer in men, to watch for include:

  • A lump or swelling, which is often (but not always) painless
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Discharge from the nipple
Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Sometimes, breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt.

These changes aren't always caused by cancer, but if you notice any breast changes, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

One more thing before we go

Apart from it being extremely embarrassing for a man to visit a doctor to have his breasts examined, the media portrayal of men with chiselled pecs is associated with manliness. It is as much a physical trauma as it is a psychological one, and now, more than ever, it’s time to man up. If you’ve found lumps that you’re worried about, it’s important that you make an appointment with your doctor right away. Guys will procrastinate, making the situation worse.

Check out this infographic by the here and find out what you can do to take part in the awareness of male breast cancer. Remember when you share this use the hashtag #NotJustForGirls & #GetMemo.

Book your doctor’s appointment directly via the Memo Health Assistant app or via our online Healthfindr platform absolutely free. You can download the app here and once installed and you've made your booking you will get a reminder to notify you on the day of your appointment, so you won’t miss it.

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