Breasts have been associated with women since the time of Adam, essentially because it is upon the breast of mothers that young children receive their nourishment. Little wonder why people generally perceive breast cancer as a disease that only affects women. In truth, breast cancer can also occur among men, and men who go for breast cancer screening can prevent this disease from claiming their lives.
A 2010 study by the University of Colorado Denver, showed that up to 80% men did not know they could develop breast cancer. The same study revealed that of those men who went for breast cancer screening, up to 43% felt that the screen was “unmanly.”
Perhaps an understanding of the anatomy of the human breasts will help more men understand why and how they could also have breast cancer.
The breast consists of lobules or milk glands. The milk glands produce milk, when necessary hormones are present, such as when a woman is with child. The breast also has ducts that carry the milk from the milk glands to the nipple. Lastly, the ducts and lobules as well as the blood and lymphatic vessels are surround by a fatty tissue called the stroma.
Both men and women have the same elements of a human breast structure; the only difference is that men have lesser of the hormones responsible for activating milk production, and they have lesser milk ducts and stroma. Nevertheless, breast cells are present in a man’s breast, and these cells can behave abnormally, leading to cancer.
The good news is, because men have lesser fatty tissue in their breasts, it would be easier to detect abnormal lumps or growth in the breast by physical examination. As soon as you notice lumps that were not there before, see your doctor and discuss the possibility of doing a breast cancer screening.
The bad news is, because men have smaller breast structure than women, breast cancer in men could easily spread to other organs, usually the lymphatic system.
Key to reducing your risk of having breast cancer is to do regular self-checks; followed by a breast cancer screening with your doctor should you detect any abnormal growth in your breast.
You can also watch out for breast cancer risk factors, such as, age, a family history of breast cancer, radiation exposure on the chest area, heavy smoking, alcohol drinking, obesity, and receiving hormone-altering treatments.
Remember, breast cancer screening can save your life.
The Harley Street Heart & Cancer Centre provides breast cancer screening. Talk to our doctors to find out more today.