Most men are ignorant of the fact that they can indeed get breast cancer and it is often thought of by many as a condition that only affects females. However, men can get breast cancer and if you discover a lump or lumps in your chest area you should see your doctor immediately.
Medical studies have shown that enlarged male breasts due to gynecomastia do not increase the risk of breast cancer in men. It’s not the size of the male breasts that brings about a higher risk threat, it’s more to do with the hormone imbalance that some men with true gynecomastia have.
Among the hormones that can elevate the risk of breast cancer is estrogen, also referred to as the female sex hormone. If your gynecomastia is due to a hormone imbalance, you may have low levels of the male hormone testosterone and high levels of the female hormone estrogen in your body. But, before you start to panic, the increased risk is very, very slight.
For those who have pseudo-gynecomastia, male breasts that originate from being overweight, there is little or no increased threat of cancer of the breast. This is a totally different affliction from true gynecomastia in the sense that it is not brought about by hormone imbalances. Due to the fact that there are no hormone problems in the equation, there are no high estrogen levels to increase your risk of breast cancer.
There are various other factors that can increase your chances of getting breast cancer much more than gynecomastia. One example is your family medical history. If the male side of your family have a history of breast cancer it could be genetically viable that you have an increased risk of contracting breast cancer. Even if you have a family link to male breast cancer, the condition is quite rare. Also, the connection between man boobs and breast cancer does not seem to have a solid link.
In a research paper, entitled Gynecomastia and breast cancer in men, was published on Oct 16, 2002 by University Hospital, Sweden, the findings of the study were that there was very little increased risk of male breast cancer in men with Gynecomastia. However, the paper also concluded that there is a significant increased risk of testicular cancer and skin cancer in men who have been operated on for gynecomastia.
The conclusion of the paper was that although there is a significantly increased risk of testicular cancer and skin cancer in men that had been diagnosed with Gynecomastia, there were no noted cases of male breast cancer.
Overall the male subjects did not show any incidences of breast cancer different to that of the general population.
Fortunately, if you have gynecomastia due to a hormone imbalance you can obtain treatment to re-balance your hormones and decrease the already very minimal threat of male breast cancer.
Many of the drugs prescribed to treat gynecomastia that is caused by a hormonal imbalance are the same drugs prescribed to treat and prevent recurring female breast cancer. They work by blocking the estrogen production to allow the testosterone levels to rise, balancing the hormone levels.
Some of the drugs are:
Tamoxifen – Used to block the effects of estrogen
Raloxifene – another drug that is used to block estrogen
Aromatase inhibitors – These types of drugs limit estrogen production.
Check your chest area and testicles on a regular basis. If you do find any lumps, bumps, or you notice that your breast or nipples are enlarging or becoming an irregular shape, visit your healthcare provider immediately.Don’t leave the lump to “go away on its own” or ignore the problem, an early diagnosis could save your life.