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Male Breast Cancer (MBC)

Breast cancer in men is rare, but it can grow and spread like any other cancer if left untreated. We offer precise diagnostic testing for men at the Abramson Cancer Center. Our specialists pinpoint the characteristics of male breast cancer and provide personalized, effective treatment.

What Is Male Breast Cancer?

Just like women, men have breast tissue that can develop cancer. It begins in either milk ducts (ductal cancer) or glands (lobular cancer), even though these breast parts are not functional in men.

The risk factors for male breast cancer are similar to other types of breast cancer. Male breast cancer can occur at any age, but typically develops in men between the ages of 60 and 70. Additional conditions that increase risk factors for men include:

  • Obesity
  • Undescended testicle
  • Testicular swelling, due to adult-onset mumps
  • Removal of one or more testicles
  • Estrogen treatment, given as hormone therapy for men with prostate cancer

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis

Men are not screened for breast cancer, so any changes to your breast should be checked by a doctor. While some men may have no symptoms, the first sign of male breast cancer is usually a lump that feels like a hard knot. Others may exhibit the more common symptoms of breast cancer.

If breast cancer is suspected, we use breast cancer imaging and biopsy to diagnose male breast cancer. Your care team will check your lymph nodes to determine the stage of breast cancer.

Types of Breast Cancer in Men

Identifying the type of breast cancer helps us determine the most effective treatment. Men can be diagnosed with several different types of breast cancer, including:

A pathologist studies breast cancer tissue to identify hormone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). These proteins found on some breast cancer cells fuel the cancer’s growth. About 90 percent of male breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive and treatable with hormone therapy. If cancer is HER2-positive, we treat it with targeted therapy. If a tumor does not have any receptors, it is called triple negative breast cancer.

Why Choose the Abramson Cancer Center for Male Breast Cancer?

We offer comprehensive breast cancer care for all types and stages of male breast cancer. At the Abramson Cancer Center, you’ll find:

  • Advanced imaging: Our specialized radiologists use leading-edge imaging technology to diagnose breast cancer in men. Our quick and accurate diagnosis ensures you get personalized treatment as soon as possible.
  • Leaders in targeted therapy: We use our experience and expertise in targeted therapy to deliver advanced breast cancer treatment based on tumor characteristics.
  • Access to innovative care: Through our diverse portfolio of breast cancer clinical trials, you have access to new and promising treatments for male breast cancer.
  • Care where you live: All Penn Medicine locations provide expert breast cancer diagnosis, testing and treatment. Specialists across the network work together to get you the care you need when and where you need it.

How We Treat Breast Cancer in Men

We personalize breast cancer treatment according to a tumor’s type, stage and receptor status. Our specialized providers collaborate to create a treatment plan that is advanced and effective. Male breast cancer treatment may include: