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Male Breast Cancer

Breast cancer in men is a rare disease that occurs in less than 1% of all breast cancer cases.  In 2015, it is estimated that 220 Canadian men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and that 60 will die of it. It is very likely that the impression that male breast cancer has a worse outcome stems from men ignoring symptoms and postponing medical attention.

What is breast cancer in men?

Male breast cancer
Like women, men have breast tissue, ducts and sometimes lobules but their male hormones keep breast tissue from developing. The cells in a man's breast duct can undergo cancerous changes however this is uncommon because their ducts are less developed than those of women and are less exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones. Breast cancer is a malignant growth (a group of cancerous cells) that forms in the breast and may grow into surrounding tissues and even spread to distant areas of the body. Although some risk factors are unique to men, the basic breast cancer information regarding the types, treatments and prevention apply to both male and female breast cancer.

Early detection and minimizing the associated risk factors for developing male breast cancer are the best ways to ensure successful treatment.  Since breast cancer in men only accounts for approximately 1% of all reported breast cancer cases, general screening might not offer a great benefit to the overall male population. Men must be aware that breast cancer is a disease that also affects them and know that it is very important for men to see their physician whenever a change in their breast is detected.

Retired Ottawa Police Officer Tells His Story

Male breast cancer

Recently diagonsed Peter Platt, reached out to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada wanting to spread awareness by sharing his story. Read Peter's story

Disclaimer: The Breast Cancer Society of Canada does not give medical advice or offer analysis or interpretations of the information we make available and we do not provide medical referrals. We do not approve of or endorse any particular treatment or course of action found through the web links listed above. They should not be used for self-diagnosis and should not be relied upon as a substitute for regular consultations with a qualified health professional who is familiar with your individual medical history and needs.

 Updated 05/22/2015




The Breast Cancer Society of Canada is a tax-exempt and registered charity (charitable registration number 137969861R0001).