Although breast cancer is often thought of as something that only affects women, it can also affect men. In men, breast cancer grows in the small amount of breast tissue they have behind their nipples and men should be just as aware of breast changes as women.
1 in 1000 men develop breast cancer. Over the last 5 years, two men have been diagnosed with breast cancer in Gibraltar. There is no routine screening specifically for men. The most common symptom is a lump in their chest area. There can also be other symptoms such as
- the nipple turning inwards
- fluid oozing from the nipple (nipple discharge), which may be streaked with blood
- a sore or rash around the nipple that does not go away
- the nipple or surrounding skin becoming hard, red or swollen
- small bumps in the armpit (swollen glands)
If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to get checked out by your GP. Less than 5% of attendances to GHA’s Breast clinic are men. However, there are a range of other benign breast conditions in men that we see at the GHA Breast clinic such as Gynaecomastia – benign development of breast tissue.
As with women, the GHA recommends that you try to reduce your risk of breast cancer by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and reducing your alcohol intake.
It may be possible to cure breast cancer if found early. However, men generally carry a higher mortality than women because men are less likely to think a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking medical advice.
Mr Muhammad Salman, GHA Associate Specialist General Surgeon with an interest in Surgical Oncology said “adult males should be breast aware of any changes occurring in the breast and contact their doctor as soon as possible to avoid a delay in diagnosis”.
Early detection and early treatment saves lives. If you have any concerning changes, contact your GP on 20052441. If there are any potential cancer symptoms, you will be referred to the Breast Clinic and will be seen within 14 days of referral.