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When Men Get Breast Cancer – It’s Worse!
What could Suzanne Somers, Sheryl Crow, and Kylie Minogue possibly have in common with strapping African American actor Richard Roundtree? They all survived breast cancer. What makes Roundtree’s survival all the more miraculous is that survival rates for men with breast cancer, overall, are lower than those for women. He beat the odds!
It is very rare for a man under age 35 to get breast cancer, but the likelihood of developing the disease increases with age, with most being detected between the ages of 60 to 70 years. Breast cancer in men is less common than in women, but it may be more deadly, new research suggests.
“Men with breast cancer don’t do as well as women with breast cancer, and there are opportunities to improve that,” said study author Dr. Jon Greif, a breast surgeon in San Francisco. “They were less likely to get the standard treatments that women get.”
Research investigators evaluated cancer characteristics and survival rates, taking into account age, ethnicity and other factors. What was revealed was good for science but a warning for black men of a certain age. Consider that men with breast cancer were more likely to be black than women with breast cancer (11.7% versus 9.9%) and less likely to be Hispanic (3.6% versus 4.5%), the researchers found.
The clearest risk for developing breast cancer seems to be in men who have had an abnormal enlargement of their breasts (called gynecomastia) in response to drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons. All men should know the symptoms of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society:
- a lump or swelling around the nipple
- dimpling or puckering, a turning inward of the nipple
- scaling of the nipple or breast skin
- redness of the nipple or skin of the breast
- nipple discharge
Although many men may not be aware that they can get breast cancer, nearly 2,200 new cases of male breast cancer are expected this year, according to the American Cancer Society. The society estimates 410 men will die of breast cancer in 2012 in the United States.