Breast cancer in men develops in the small amount of breast tissue they have behind their nipples.
It usually occurs in men over the age of 60, but can very occasionally affect younger men.
The symptoms and signs of breast cancer are very similar in both men and women, with a number of changes in the nipple indicating the disease.
While you experience some of the symptoms of breast cancer, such as a lump in the breast, it is very unlikely you have cancer. But it is best to always get checked out by your GP.
The NHS lists four nipple changes that indicate breast cancer in men:
- The nipple turning inwards (inverted nipple)
- Fluid oozing from the nipple (nipple discharge), which may be streaked with blood
- A sore or rash around the nipple that doesn’t go away
- The nipple or surrounding skin becoming hard, red or swollen
Other symptms include:
- A lump in the breast – this is usually hard, painless and doesn’t move around within the breast
- Small bumps in the armpit (swollen glands)
Similarities and differences with breast cancer in women:
- A new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before
- A change in the size or shape of one of both breasts
- Bloodstained discharge from either of your nipples
- A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and get checked out by your GP, but there’s also another way to test for a cancerous lump.
Women have been advised for years the correct method for feeling for a cancerous lump in their breast.
Male Care offers a similar male breast cancer self exam.
It says, checking each breast one at a time:
- Use your right hand fingers to check your left breast, and your left hand fingers to check your right breast
- With your fingers flat against the breast press firmly in small, clockwise circles
- Start at the outermost top edge of your breast and spiral towards the nipple
- Feel for hard lumps or bumps in your breast
- Be certain to cover all parts of your breast
- Gently squeeze both nipples and look for any discharge
- Look carefully for changes in the size, shape, and contour of each breast e.g. puckering, dimpling or changes in skin texture
What does a lump feel like?
According to Healthline, a cancerous lump in the breast most commonly feels like:
- A hard mass
- It has irregular edges
- It is immobile (doesn’t move when pushed)
- It appears in the upper outer portion of your breast It grows over time
But it adds: “Not all cancerous lumps will meet these criteria, and a cancerous lump that has all of these traits isn’t typical.
“A cancerous lump many feel rounded, soft, and tender and can occur anywhere in the breast. In some cases, the lump can even be painful.”
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