We're entering the second decade of public and professional education and awareness regarding breast cancer. There are 17 major national nonprofit cancer organizations working to ensure that the media and communities everywhere focus a spotlight on the problem of breast cancer (in women.) So why are we talking about this subject in a men's site? Because, while it is a relatively small number Breast Cancer Kills Men, Too. (2007 - 1,990 new cases of breast cancer in men and 450 deaths.) So, if all of this awareness is out there why haven't I found a man yet that wasn't amazed to know that men can even get breast cancer? And, here's the BIG ONE. Relative delay in diagnosis of men versus women: 18 months. So, chances are, our cases are more advanced resulting in higher mortality rates.
I once went through the many men's health books looking for information on breast cancer. Most of the indexes go from "breakfast" to "breath, bad". The Man's Health Book by Michael Oppenheim is the ONLY one that even acknowledged the possibility, and it was published way back in 1994. Here's what they say: "Male breast cancer is about one fourth as common as penile cancer. The mortality rate is greater in men because they lack the frightening awareness that's almost universal among women. A soft lump behind the nipple is probably gynecomastia; a hard lump points to cancer. Either is worth a trip to the doctor." That's it for breast cancer in men. They do have several pages concerning Gynescomastia (abnormal breast swelling) for men. What we do know is that, generally, breast cancer is usually more common in men over 60 with higher than normal levels of estrogen. Personal and family history of breast cancer is a factor. Signs are a lump, thickening, swelling, discharge or other changes in the breast.