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Male Breast Conditions: Cancer or Not Cancer?

Oct 11, 2017

For many men breast conditions are benign, not cancerous. For others their breast condition is malignant, cancerous.

For many men breast conditions are benign, not cancerous. For others their breast condition is malignant, cancerous.

Non-cancerous Male Breast Conditions

Some benign breast conditions include:

  • Gynecomastia
    The most common male breast abnormality, gynecomastia is not a tumor. It is a benign increase in a man’s breast tissue mass. This disorder appears as a rounded growth under the nipple. You can feel and possibly see this growth. Severe gynecomastia causes growth of what appear as small breasts.

Gynecomastia occurs due to hormone imbalance. Sometimes it occurs due to endocrine diseases or liver disease. Obesity also causes hormone imbalance for some men, leading to gynecomastia. Medications treating ulcers, heartburn, heart failure, psychiatric conditions and high blood pressure also sometimes cause this breast condition.

  • Benign breast tumors
    Benign breast tumors in men include abnormal lumps or masses like papillomas and fibroadenomas. These tumors remain in breast tissue and cause no threat to life. These are uncommon in men, compared to women.

Male Breast Cancer Conditions

Several types of breast cancer affect men. These conditions are categorized according to how the cancer cells look under a microscope. One breast tumor may be a mix of several types. Or for some rare male breast cancer, the cancer does not form a tumor.

  • Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
    DCIS is non-invasive or pre-invasive. This means the cells lining your breast ducts have changed and appear like cancer cells. These DCIS cancer cells have not spread into surrounding breast tissue or outside of the breast. This type of breast cancer affects ten percent of male breast cancer patients. It is usually curable through surgery.

  • Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)
    IDC begins in milk ducts, growing through the duct walls and into fatty tissue of your breast. It can spread to other parts of your body through your blood or lymph. About 80 percent of male breast cancers are IDCs.

  • Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)
    This male breast cancer begins in your lobules, growing into the breast’s fatty tissue. Only about two percent of male breast cancers are ILC.

  • Paget Disease of the Nipple
    This breast cancer in men starts in your breast ducts, spreading to your nipple. It may spread to your areola, causing the skin of your nipple to appear scaly, red and crusty. The nipple also itches, oozes, burns and bleeds. More men suffer Paget disease than females.

  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer in Men
    Inflammatory breast cancer is aggressive yet rare. This type of breast cancer in men causes swelling, redness, warmth and tenderness in the breast without a lump. Many men assume it is an infection and will go away on its own, but it is actually cancer. But the condition is very uncommon in men.