By Istvan S Diego
Notwithstanding that male breast cancer is a rare phenomenon, it is still possible. Such cases account for only 1% of all breast cancer. The American Cancer Society forecasts that over 1,000 new cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed in 2010 ("Male Breast Cancer"). The survival rate in men is lower than in women, mostly because men often report the symptoms of breast cancer too late ("Male Breast Cancer"). The disease is more likely to spread, leaving many men with less hope that treatment will lead to recovery. The main reasons of that are first of all the lack of the research in this field that leads to the second reason that is men’s unawareness about the possibility of male breast cancer. The unawareness leads to late discovery and high death rate.
Male Breast Cancer
According the American Cancer Society, like all cells of the body, men's breast duct cells can undergo cancerous changes. Breast cancer is less common in men, because their breast duct cells(lymph systems) located under the nipple and areola (area around the nipple) are less developed than those of women because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones ("Male Breast Cancer"). Breast cancer can spread through lymph system. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped collections of immune system cells connected by lymphatic vessels. Lymphatic vessels are like small veins. Lymph contains tissue fluid and waste products, as well as immune system cells. Breast cancer cells can enter lymphatic vessels and begin to grow in lymph nodes ("What Is Breast Cancer in men?"). Most lymphatic vessels in the breast connect to lymph nodes under the arm (axillary nodes). Some lymphatic vessels connect to lymph nodes near the breast bone (internal mammary nodes) and either above or below the collarbone (supraclavicular or infraclavicular nodes) ("What Is Breast Cancer in men?"). It's important to know if the cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes. If they have, there is a higher chance that the cells could have gotten into the bloodstream and spread (metastasized) to other sites in the body. The more lymph nodes that contain breast cancer, the more likely it is that the cancer may be found in other organs as well. Still, not all men with lymph nodes that contain cancer develop metastases, and in some cases a man can have negative lymph nodes and later develop metastases.
Types of male breast cancer
Scientists define the following types of male breast cancer: * Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) also known as intraductal carcinoma. Cancer cells form in the breast ducts but do not invade through the walls of the ducts into the fatty tissue of the breast or spread outside the breast. DCIS accounts for about 1 in 10 cases of breast cancer in men. It is almost always curable with surgery. * Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma (ILC) This type of breast cancer starts in the breast lobules (collections of cells that, in women, produce breast milk) and invades the fatty tissue of the breast. ILC is very rare in men, accounting for only about 2% of breast cancers. This is because men do not usually have much lobular tissue. * Infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma (IDC) This type of breast cancer breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the fatty tissue of the breast. At this point, it can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. IDC (alone or mixed with other types of invasive or in situ breast cancer) accounts for at least 8 out of 10 male breast cancers. Because the male breast is much smaller than the female breast, all male breast cancers start relatively close to the nipple, so spread to the nipple is more likely. This is different from Paget disease as described below. * Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) In LCIS, abnormal cells form in the...