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What you need to know about male breast cancer

SAN ANTONIO – It's not just women who can be diagnosed with breast cancer. Approximately one in every 100 cases is a man.

It may be far less common, but it can still be dangerous if it's not caught early.

"They're surprised that as you mentioned they're there they usually don't know that they could have breast cancer," Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, professor of medicine at UT Health San Antonio said.

Kaklamani and the Mays Cancer Center see around 500 new breast cancer patients every year and at least five of those patients are going to be men.

Sisters diagnosed with breast cancer weeks apart

And like women finding breast cancer starts with a lump.

"It's usually painless so it does not cause pain again something that's important. If you think that oh jeez it's not hurting me it's not going to be anything. It usually does not hurt. So those are usually the signs and symptoms you're not supposed to have other symptoms you're not supposed to have headaches or shortness of breath or pain anywhere else. It's usually just a painless lump," Kaklamani said.

The good news is that Kaklamani and her team treat it relatively similarly to how they treat women's breast cancer. 
The doctor said the prognosis is the same. 

Breast cancer fact or fiction

And stage by stage is pretty similar and the medications are the same. 

There aren't exactly clear-cut preventative measures, but it's important you are aware of any medical problems your relatives have.

"Know your family history especially for men it's very important that if they have a family history of breast cancer especially if it was in female relatives that were younger female relatives that also had a very in cancer. Those are signs that that help us figure out that he may be at risk of breast cancer," Kaklamani said.

How does age play a role in breast cancer risk?

And if you do think anything is wrong, or if you do feel what may be a lump, it's better to be safe than sorry.

"The majority of breast cancer patients whether men or women are curable and we expect to cure them. The important thing is that we catch it early. So that's why it's important if you do get a breast lump. Even if you're a man, please go to your doctor have it checked out," Kaklamani said.


About the Author:

Max Massey

Max Massey joined KSAT 12 News in August 2017 as a general assignments reporter.