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While breast cancer is a well-known disease that impacts women around the world, what is less commonly known is that breast cancer can also affect men. Though not nearly as frequent, men, especially older men, are at risk for the same dangers of breast cancer that women face.

The American Cancer Society reports that men will account for an estimated 2,470 new breast cancer cases in 2017.

Breast cancer is the presence of a malignant tumor that starts from cells in the breast. A malignant tumor is simply a group of cancer cells that might grow into surrounding tissues or even spread to distant areas of the body. Cells in about every part of the body can become cancerous, and can spread to other areas of the body.

Many people don’t know that men can get breast cancer because they don’t realize men also have breast tissue. Due to this lack of knowledge, men often miss early detection because they aren’t aware they could get breast cancer or what the symptoms look like.

The symptoms of breast cancer are the same in men as they are women but because of the smaller amount of breast tissue in men, the cancer can often spread further before it is noticed. It is important for men to self-check for any signs of breast cancer like lumps or masses, irritated skin, or swollen breast tissue, and if any irregular symptoms occur, to contact their healthcare provider immediately. Just like in women, it is especially important to look for symptoms and signs if you have a family history of breast cancer. With more awareness and education on male breast cancer we will hopefully increase the rate of early detection and ultimately save more lives.