Buddy Check 7: Breast cancer in men

Published: May. 7, 2017 at 10:57 PM CDT
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It's not common, but it happens: breast cancer in men. In this month's Buddy Check 7 report NewsChannel 7 looks at the numbers and how it's treated.

"Only about half a percent of all the breast cancers each year that are diagnosed, are in a man," Radiation Oncologist Anna Olsen said.

Olsen doesn't treat many cases because the disease is typically linked to women.

"We don't screen men and it's not something that men typically talk about or even associate as a possibility," Olsen said.

Olsen said when the disease is found in men, it's usually in a more advanced stage because it isn't caught in early on.

"Treatment is usually the same, remove the breast, or the lump in the breast. Then, based on the information we get at pathology, decide if we need radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy," Olsen said.

Men with a history of male breast cancer, not female breast cancer in their family, can be proactive in monitoring their health. Olsen suggests any man diagnosed to see a genetic counselor.

Age and estrogen levels are typically the biggest risk factors for men. The average male breast cancer patient is 68 years old.