Although male breast cancer is rare, that doesn’t mean men can’t get the disease. Because it’s not a common form of cancer among men, many are unaware of the signs and symptoms they should be looking out for.
This is according to an article in the Sunday Express, which highlighted a survey carried out by charity Breast Cancer Care, which found that three-quarters of men in the UK never check their breasts for signs of cancer.
However, it affects one in 870 men during their lifetime, and with early detection is treatable with good survival rates. That means checking your breasts is important, as is knowing what’s normal for your body so that you can easily notice any changes.
The news provider went on to share symptoms that men should be aware of, according to the US Mayo Clinic.
A lump in your breast, or a thickening of the skin in that area, can be one sign, and is something that’s certainly worth getting checked out.
Changes to the skin, particularly around the nipple, can be another sign of cancer. The clinic recommends that you get checked out if you get a sore or rash around your nipple that doesn’t go away, or if the skin around the nipple becomes red, hard or swollen.
If you notice that the nipple itself has changed, either in terms of becoming scaly or red, or by inverting and turning inwards, you should visit a doctor for a second opinion.
A discharge from the nipple can also be a sign of breast cancer and one that men should be aware of, the Mayo Clinic added.
The news provider added that male breast cancer is most common in older men, although it can occur at any age.
Because the disease is rare in men, there’s no official screening programme for them. That makes it all the more important that they know the signs and seek medical advice if anything in their breast area changes.
While all women in the UK aged 50 to 69 are invited to have a mammogram every three years, research has recently suggested we should take a more targeted approach to breast cancer screening in this country.
Researchers at University College London found that it would be better not to invite women classed at a low risk of the disease for screening. This would reduce overdiagnosis, as well as saving the NHS resources, they explained.
Women who are concerned about their breast health could buy a breast home inspection device, which makes it much easier to identify changes or abnormalities in the breast tissue.
The BREAST-i device shines a high-intensity LED light through the breast tissue. In a healthy breast, the tissue should appear pink or reddish in colour with patterns of darker blood vessels on it. If you spot any dark patches or shadows in your breast, you should visit your GP as soon as possible for tests.
This kind of simple device is easy to use at home, and a great tool for use overseas where women may not have easy access to healthcare and screening programmes.