Breast cancer screenings are also important for men, doctor says

Male breast cancer treatment is similar to women, such as chemotherapy or surgery - depending on the stage.

Amanda Aguilar Image
Thursday, October 26, 2023
Breast cancer screenings are also important for men, doctor says
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It doesn't happen a lot, but men can get diagnosed with breast cancer.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It doesn't happen a lot, but men can get diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Just treated someone last week with breast cancer," said Dr. Dawn Johnson. "Older age -- in his 70s. He felt a palpable mass, and it was his wife that said, 'Hey, you need to go in and get evaluated.'"

Dr. Johnson, a breast surgeon at cCare in northeast Fresno, said she diagnoses one to two men per year. Most of them are older men, and the cancer is in a more advanced stage.

"Men present at a later stage and have a worse prognosis than women," she explained. "Part of that is lack of screening or lack of awareness or appreciation that it can occur in men."

Men can also undergo a mammogram screening.

However, since less than one percent of breast cancer cases in the US involve men, there are currently no screening guidelines.

According to Dr. Johnson, men have a higher risk for the disease if breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer runs in the family -- or they have a gene mutation.

Although, all men should be aware of any lumps or skin changes.

"It'll be subtle. It'll be peeling or chafing around the nipple," Dr. Johnson shared. "Some men that I've seen have also presented with nipple drainage. So it will be a bloody discharge that they noticed on their t-shirts."

Male breast cancer treatment is similar to women, such as chemotherapy or surgery - depending on the stage.

Dr. Johnson said, like women, men should also get in the habit of performing a breast self-exam. A quick check can be life-saving.

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