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Male Breast Cancer: What Men Should Know About Risks and Screenings

Breast cancer is far less common in men than in women, but having an elevated risk level could call for screenings

Breast cancer is one of the most publicly-discussed health issues in our country. The National Football League dedicates an entire month to raising awareness and research funding. Major League Baseball and the NBA offer support through wear-pink campaigns and events.

You’ve probably noticed that most of the discussion centers around women. There is a good reason for this, as roughly 99 percent of breast cancers occur in women. But there is that remaining one percent that strikes men.

Male breast cancer, while rare, is still a relevant health issue. It can be just as dangerous and difficult of a condition, making the need for awareness important.

Breast cancer screenings are recommended only for men at a higher risk

Because men are at such a low risk of developing breast cancer, the need for universal screening across the entire population is not necessary. However, there are a few situations when a man should have routine evaluations.

If you have a higher risk for the disease, you should consider regular screenings. What represents a “higher risk?” Usually this means men who have a strong family history of cancer, especially a mother or a sister who has had breast cancer under the age of 40.

Men with a genetic mutation to specific genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are known to fight breast cancer development, are also considered higher risk. Tests are available to determine whether you or a loved one is a carrier of the mutation to these genes, and men with a family history of breast cancer may want to consider the tests to further determine their risk levels.

Recommendations for men at higher risk

If you are determined to be at a higher risk, you should first talk with your doctor to outline any steps to take for active screening. The procedures carry risks of their own, so it is not something you should jump into lightly. However, higher risk males should have a clinical breast exam once or twice a year. This is a procedure performed by a healthcare provider who is trained to search for abnormalities in the breast tissue.

Men at higher risks who are over the age of 40 may also want to consider having a mammogram. Depending on the results of the first screening, annual assessments may be recommended.

Due to its rarity, there is less awareness for male breast cancer, but you should stay informed on this important issue. When you take an active, informed approach to all aspects of your health, you increase your chances of living a long, active life!

Get the best service and care for your long-term health

If you have additional questions about breast cancer or  any other issue related to medical screening, contact POM MRI. And if you and your physician have determined that screenings are appropriate for you, request a mammogram today.

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