Men and breast cancer

Many people are unaware that men can develop breast cancer, because they do not think of men as having breasts.

Risks and causes

There is no known single cause of breast cancer in men. However, there are some factors that might increase the risk:

  • getting older – men who get breast cancer are usually over 60
  • exposure to radiation – previous radiotherapy treatment can slightly increase risk
  • obesity – more significant in men over the age of 35
  • significant family history – close relatives with a history of breast cancer at a young age
  • higher than normal oestrogen levels – as a result of long term liver damage and other conditions
  • Kleinfelter’s syndrome – a very rare hereditary condition that can increase the risk of breast cancer in men

For more information on the risks and causes, please visit the breast cancer in men section on the Cancer Research UK website.

Signs and symptoms

The earlier breast cancer is treated the better, so it is important to get any symptoms checked out as soon as possible.

Possible symptoms include:

  • a lump around the nipple or any other area of the breast
  • nipple discharge (may be blood-stained)
  • tender or drawn in nipple
  • ulceration or swelling of the breast
  • swelling under the arm

Living with breast cancer for males

The Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Care websites will provide you with support and information on coping with cancer; fertility and sex life and the effects of cancer treatment on men.