Why men need to be aware too
Breast cancer is seen as a condition that only affects women but men can develop it too.
However, breast cancer in men is much less common than breast cancer in women, affecting just one in every 100,000 men in England.
The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a hard, painless lump that develops on one of the breasts.
You should always visit your doctor if this is the case or if you have symptoms that affect your nipples, such as retraction or discharge.
While these symptoms are unlikely to be the result of breast cancer, they need to be investigated further.
Treating breast cancer in men
In most cases of breast cancer, surgery is used to remove a section of the breast. This is usually followed by a long-term course of hormone therapy using a medication called tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen helps to block the effects of hormones on breast tissue which are known to stimulate the growth of cancerous cells. It should help to prevent the cancer from returning.
In some cases, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy can be used for the same purpose.
The causes of breast cancer in men are unclear but a number of risk factors for the condition have been identified. These include age (most cases of male breast cancer affect men who are over 70 years of age), having a family history of breast cancer (both male or female), obesity (a body mass index of 30 or more) and alcohol consumption.
It is estimated that around 300 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed each year in England. The average age of diagnosis is 71 years of age.
The outlook for breast cancer in men is less favourable than for women. This is because there is less awareness of the condition so it often takes longer to diagnose.