Breast Cancer Can Affect Men Too

Many people assume because men don’t have fully developed breasts that they can’t develop breast cancer. This is a huge misconception about this disease. Men have breast tissue therefore they are able to develop breast cancer. It’s important for both men and women to better under the anatomy of breasts in order to take proper preventative measures for breast cancer.

Structure of the breast

The breast is made up of milk producing glands, tubes that carry the milk, and fatty tissue. Until a child reaches puberty, both boys and girls have very little breast tissue. Once a girl reaches puberty, the hormones in her body cause the breast tissue to increase. Boys don’t have as high of levels of the same hormones as girls so their breast tissue doesn’t grow.Because males have cells in their breasts, they are able to become cancerous. Of course, because they have much less tissue and the cells aren’t as developed, males only have a small chance of developing breast cancer.

Lymphatic system of breast

The lymphatic system is the most common way for breast cancer to spread, so it is vital for people to understand how it works. Lymph nodes contain a collection of immune system cells, which are designed to fight infections. These are connected to the lymphatic vessels. Inside the lymph nodes are tissue fluid and waste products. The vessels are important so the waste can get carried away from the breast. The cancerous cells enter the breast through the vessels and start growth in the lymph nodes.There are multiple types of lymph nodes in a breast:

  • Supraclavicular (above the clavicle)
  • Infraclavicular (under the clavicle)
  • Axillary (under the arm)
  • Internal mammary (under breastbone)
diagram of breast lymph nodes

Once cancer cells have reached any one of these lymph nodes, it is likely that they have also entered the bloodstream and metastasized throughout the body. If more than one lymph node has cancer cells, there is a higher chance that cancer can be found in other organs.

Types of breast cancer in men

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is considered non-invasive. The cells look like cancer cells, but they do not spread. This accounts for about 10 percent of male breast cancer cases.Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC): This is the most common type, affecting about 80 percent of male cancer patients. The cancer cells usually start near the nipple and spread throughout the surrounding breast tissue.Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC): This starts in the milk glands then grows into the breast tissue. Because men have very little lobular tissue, it is rare for men to develop this type.Paget disease of the nipple: This starts in the breast ducts then spreads to the areola. This type is associated with DCIS. More men develop this than women.Inflammatory breast cancer: This type is rare but very aggressive. Many doctors will mistake it for an infection, leaving it left untreated. Men are least likely to develop this type.If you are a male, it’s imperative that you take proper preventative steps for all forms of breast cancer. Schedule an appointment with the experts at radiology Las Vegas trusts most at Steinberg Diagnostic. They can perform annual tests to ensure you are in tip top shape. For more information about the diagnostic imaging Las Vegas seeks most, contact 702.732.6000.

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