More than 18 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year. In 2040, 27 million will be reached. Of these, breast cancer is the most frequent, accounting for 12.50% of the total.
Although it is a disease that mainly affects women, men can also suffer from this type of cancer.
Breast cancer in facts
The data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology that we have just mentioned are truly shocking. These forecasts estimate that 34,750 new cases will be diagnosed in our country in 2022. The percentage it represents with respect to the total is very similar to that of the world distribution: 12.40%.
According to medical and scientific research by the World Health Organization(WHO), one in twelve women will suffer from this disease. In fact, in 2020, 685,000 died from this cause. In addition, 2.3 million were diagnosed for the first time and 7.8 million were living with the disease for less than five years.
If we delve deeper into these statistics by gender, the figures show large differences:
- Among women, breast cancer accounts for about 29% of those diagnosed.
- Among men, this variety is included in the “Other” category, which represents less than 7% of the total.
Does this mean that men do not get this cancer? Not at all. 1% of cases are diagnosed in male patients. An additional significant fact is that 15-20% of them have a family history of hereditary cancer.
What is breast cancer
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast multiply out of control. Their typology varies depending on which specific cells become cancerous. In addition, it can appear in different parts of the breast.
In women, it usually manifests with the appearance of a painless lump or thickening in the breast. These symptoms can also be seen:
- Modification of the size, appearance or shape of the breast.
- Appearance of unusual elements, such as redness, dimples, cracks, skin alterations…
- Alterations in the areola or nipple.
- Abnormal nipple discharge.
On the other hand, it is important to add that 90% of the breast masses or nodules that appear are not cancerous.
However, the prevention of breast cancer in women must begin with regular examinations of the area. If you notice any suspicious traits, you must see a specialist within one or two months.
Detection and prevention of breast cancer in men
Although unusual, we should not let our guard down or ignore the fact that this cancer can affect men. We repeat the fact: one out of every one hundred diagnosed cases is male. Many of those affected are doubly frightened when they find out: because of the disease itself and because they were unaware of the possibility of suffering from it.
The problem is the same in both genders. We all have breast tissue, regardless of gender. Its alteration causes this disease, although its causes are not entirely clear in men.
Medical research has identified these risk factors:
- Genetic inheritance and family history.
- Radiation exposure.
- Excess estrogen. Obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, cirrhosis and certain medications for prostate cancer can cause it.
- Gynecomastia (overabundance of breast tissue).
- Advanced age. Most male patients are between 60 and 70 years of age.
The symptoms are very similar to those of female cancer. One breast may be larger than the other, the breast tissue may swell, lumps may appear, or the nipple or its surroundings may change. Sometimes, secretions also gush from it.
Family history is the main warning indicator. Breast cancer prevention in men involves regular physical and breast examinations. Mammograms, ultrasounds, MRI scans and, if necessary, biopsies are performed.
Male hormones restrict breast growth, so breast tissue is smaller than in females. Therefore, the incidence of this problem is much lower, although the risk of death in men is proportionally higher, since it usually takes longer to detect it.
What is the treatment of male breast cancer?
The treatment of breast cancer in men does not differ from that of women. The process to be followed depends on the size and speed of extension of the tumors. Applicable solutions include:
- Surgical removal of breast, lymph nodes under the arm, thoracic muscles…
- Post-surgery radiotherapy.
- Hormone therapy.
- Targeted therapy.
The conclusion is clear: both men and women can get breast cancer. The effectiveness of treatment depends, to a large extent, on when the disease was detected. Therefore, it is essential to be examined periodically and to see a specialist at the slightest suspicion. If you want to discover other interesting contents about health and wellness, take a look at our blog.