Breast cancer in men is rare—it makes up less than 1 percent of all breast cancers. But like all other cancers, if male breast cancer goes untreated, it is likely to grow and spread.

At Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, we diagnose and treat all types and stages of breast cancer, no matter how rare. We have the experience and expertise to offer personalized and effective treatment for male breast cancer.

What Is Male Breast Cancer?

Men develop cancer in their breast tissue, just like women. Cancer begins in either milk ducts (ductal cancer) or glands (lobular cancer), even though these breast parts are not functional in men.

Some men are more likely to develop breast cancer than others. The risk factors for breast cancer are similar in men and women, but some factors are specific to men. Male breast cancer can occur at any age, but typically develops in men between 60 and 70. Additional conditions that increase risk factors for men include:

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms & Diagnosis

Since men are not screened for breast cancer, we typically diagnose male breast cancer only after symptoms appear. The first sign of male breast cancer is usually a lump that feels like a hard knot. Others may exhibit the more common symptoms of breast cancer or have no symptoms at all. Any changes to the breast should always be checked by a physician.

If breast cancer is suspected, we diagnose breast cancer in men using breast cancer imaging and biopsy. Your care team will also check your lymph nodes to determine the stage of breast cancer.

Types of Breast Cancer in Men

Just like women, men can be diagnosed with several different types of breast cancer, including:

Identifying the characteristics of each breast cancer helps us determine the most effective treatment. We study breast cancer tissue to identify hormone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). These proteins found on some breast cancer cells fuel the cancer’s growth.

About 90 percent of male breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive and treatable with hormone therapy. If cancer is HER2-positive, we treat it with targeted therapy. If a tumor does not have any receptors, it is called triple negative breast cancer.

Male Breast Cancer: The Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Advantage

We offer comprehensive care for every type and stage of male breast cancer. The benefits of breast cancer care at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health include:

  • Advanced imaging: We use leading-edge technology to diagnose male breast cancer. Our expert radiologists and pathologists (who study body tissue) provide a quick and accurate diagnose so you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
  • Leaders in targeted therapy: We use our experience and expertise in targeted therapy to deliver advanced treatment based on tumor characteristics.
  • Access to innovative care: We offer a diverse portfolio of clinical trials, both in Lancaster and in Philadelphia. Our trials provide you with access to new and promising treatments for male breast cancer.
  • World-class care close to home: We provide expert care for every type of cancer in a community setting. Except for surgery, all your breast cancer treatments happen at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in Lancaster. Learn more about our breast cancer care locations.

Our Approach to Treating Breast Cancer in Men

Once we diagnose breast cancer in a man, we study the tumor’s characteristics and use that information to determine a personalized treatment plan. Our breast cancer treatment for men includes:

Request an Appointment

To make an appointment at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, call 717-544-9400 or request a callback using our online form.

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