Last Updated on September 27, 2020
Every time we talk about breast cancer, our minds go directly to women and their years of struggle with this scary disease. But did you know that men get diagnosed with breast cancer too?
It is true that incidences of breast cancer in men are rare, but in 2019, an estimated 2,670 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer, with black men having the highest rate. The worst part is that male breast cancer is detected mostly in advanced stages when the chances of survival are pretty slim.
This is why it is important to spread awareness so everyone can pay attention to the early symptoms of cancer! In order to shed light on this important topic, we decided to talk about all the early signs of male breast cancer that might appear shocking and very unexpected to most of you. You never know, you may end up saving your life or someone’s life…
#1 – Breast lumps
If you are a man who has breast cancer, then you may notice a painless, firm lump on the pectoral muscles that are located close to or behind the nipple area. However, these lumps are different than the ones found in benign gynecomastia – male enlarged breasts because of hormonal imbalance.
According to Brandon Behjatnia, MD, a Topline MD physician, gynecomastia is usually a soft and mobile mass but the cancerous lumps are neither soft nor mobile; they are extremely firm and can’t really move under the skin.
You have to do breast imaging and a needle biopsy (if necessary) to determine if the lump is cancerous.
#2 – Changes in the breast size or shape
Besides the lump on the breast, which is one of the most obvious signs of male breast cancer, you may also notice a weird chance in the size or shape. You might experience a sudden increase in the size overtime or perhaps overnight!
Also, you may notice something abnormal happening under the skin, which is often painless, but it could cause slight changes to the area. These signs should not be taken for granted or to be neglected, so as soon as you notice this, check with your doctor ASAP!
#3 – Changes in the male’s chest nipples
If there is an odd change in the shape, appearance or texture of a man’s chest nipples, then it could be an indicator of breast cancer. These changes are often noticeable in 40% to 50% of the cases of male breast cancer, and they mostly include nipple inversion or retraction, redness, discharge or scaling.
It is important to note that men’s nipple retraction could also be caused by other benign conditions, but in any case, you need to check with your doctor to do all the necessary procedures in the hope to catch breast cancer early!
#4 – Skin changes
One of the very first signs of breast cancer can be odd skin changes on the chest. In fact, men who suffer from inflammatory breast cancer may notice skin redness, rash or accumulation of fluid in the chest muscle tissue.
The problem is a subtle redness or a rash can oftentimes go unnoticed because the patient may believe it is a result of an unhealed wound or friction from physical activity.
This is why all doctors suggest to never take any slight of change in your body for granted because you may end up dealing with a dangerous disease after it’s too late.
#5 – Discharge from the male chest nipples
Nipple discharge, when it comes to women, is completely normal even if they weren’t pregnant or breastfeeding. But when it comes to men, it is a very different case!
If you are a man and you have been noticing a weird discharge from your chest, then you should not ignore it at all because, obviously, something is not right.
The discharge can be clear, and sometimes, it can be accompanied by blood. Take a quick glance at your shirt and notice if there is anything in there that shouldn’t be.
And don’t be late to schedule an appointment with your doctor in case you found something!
#6 – Breast pain
There are many non-cancerous causes of breast pain, but you don’t want to risk not checking with your doctor based on possibilities!
Breast cancer would usually cause a pain that is persistent, focal, and not related to trauma or physical activity. It mainly felt around the nipple area, so if you are feeling unexplained pain in your breasts that wouldn’t go away in a few days, then you should schedule an appointment to see if everything is okay.
#7 – Bone pain
Male breast cancer is mostly diagnosed in its later stages, which is why it can be spread outside the chest area into other parts of the body.
According to experts, the bones are the most common body part where the breast cancer spread.
Only when this happens, men finally get diagnosed with breast cancer and start seeking medical care! In most cases, it could be a little too late, which is why it is important to pay attention to the early signs of breast cancer.
#8 – Lymph nodes
Breast cancer can also spread to the lymph nodes in case it wasn’t detected early, which is going to make the healing journey a little tougher. As soon as you feel pain under or near your armpits, then you should worry and schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
Although male breast cancer is rare (about 1%), it still exists and you need to pay attention to all the signs your body is giving you and never delay evaluation for better survival!