Question: It is “Breast Cancer” awareness month, and we do focus on the issue related to women, but we completely overlook men.  What are the implications for men? How is breast cancer among men diagnosed and treated? How is the diagnosis and treatment different than that for women?

Generally it is thought that men are not affected with breast cancer. As a matter of fact men can also fall prey to this deadly disease. The incidence of breast cancer in men is very low i.e. less than 1% whereas in female cancers it constitutes more than 20% globally and in Pakistan breast cancer is 35% to 40% of all female malignancies.

According to recent estimate one out of every eight women is at risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime and for men the risk has been estimated as one out of every 1000 men.

Because of the rarity of male breast cancer and very high incidence of female breast cancer more stress is laid on creating awareness about female breast cancer. Also screening is not recommended for male breast cancer.

This doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t be careful. They also need to be educated about the risk factors, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Worldwide pink color is dedicated for female breast cancer and blue color represents male breast cancer.

Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer is the same in men as in women. Diagnosis is established with the help of examination, mammography (where possible) and biopsy. Treatment comprises of suitable combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal treatment and targeted therapy according to stage of the disease and other clinicopathological features.

Because of smaller breast tissue in men, lumps should be detected earlier as compared to women but because of lack of awareness patients don’t seek timely medical advice and present late for treatment.

In awareness programs we should try to apprise our population of the risk of developing male breast cancer so as to help patients in early detection and treatment of the disease.

Like female breast cancer male breast cancer is also preventable, treatable and curable.


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