Understanding Male Breast Cancer Symptoms & How to Prevent it

30Although breast cancer is known to be a disease for women, it does not mean that it will not happen to men. Same as females, males have breasts too and they have breast tissues right under their nipples. Fortunately, males contracting such cancer is a very rare case which is only 1% out of all the cases. However, all males have the risk of 0.1% of developing such cancer in their lifetime. Although studies shown that the chances of males developing breast cancer are between the ages from 60 to 70 that do not mean that younger men do not have the chance of developing such cancer. Therefore, it is best for every man to understand & find out the symptoms, just to play safe if they feel there are some changes to their breasts or nipples.

What are the symptoms for male breast cancer?

* Firm mass located below the nipple. (The mass is not painful.)

* Ulceration of the nipple’s skin.

* Puckering or dimpling of the nipple.

* Redness or scaling of the nipple.

* Nipple retraction. (Nipple turning inward.)

* Discharge from the nipple. (The discharge is either bloody or opaque.)

If the cancer cells had spread to the bones, there might be symptoms of bone pain. If the cancer is at a more advanced stage, other symptoms of breast cancers include malaise, weakness and weight loss (which is similar to other types of cancers too). If any of the symptoms occurs to you, please find a doctor to examine your body as soon as possible as your life might be in potential danger. Cancer is a deadly disease and if it is not discovered at an early stage, the chances of living is very slim.

The possible causes of male breast cancer are:

* Age. The risk of contracting such cancer at an older age is higher.

* Family History. If any of your family members had ever developed such cancer, please be extra careful.

* Exposure to Radiation. Radiation exposure due to any reasons might cause cancer.

* Liver Diseases. This results in lower levels of male hormones which increases the chance of developing such cancer.

* Estrogen Therapy. If they had gone through any estrogen treatment, the chances of contracting such cancer are higher too.

* Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Male with 2 or more female chromosomes increases their chances to contract breast cancer.

Please be mindful of your health and live healthily to decrease the chances of contracting cancer. However, if you ever find symptoms of male breast cancer occurring to you, do not feel that it is a shameful thing for males to contract such cancer; instead you should be checking up on the best clinics in town to diagnose your problem!

What Looks Like Eczema or Psoriasis on the Breast Could Be Paget’s Disease

29The rare breast cancer disease – Paget’s disease (Paget’s disease of the nipple or Mammary Paget’s disease) is often confused with the two common skin conditions eczema and psoriasis. All which are very similar, and which often force doctors to send their patients to specialists for correct diagnosis.

However, there are certain detectable differences between both Paget’s disease and other skin conditions that many women can look for when self-checking the breasts for cancer. Usually common skin conditions that affect the breasts are nothing to be worried about; however, with Paget’s disease, it is different.

1. Eczema – is a relatively common skin complain; although, it is considered a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that consists of dry skin with red patches, together with an often itchy sensation that tends to provoke the condition to become worse when scratched (eczema rarely affects the nipple).

2. Psoriasis – is similar to eczema, but with patches of raised skin that are usually red in color, together with thick silvery scales (often considered a more hereditary disease [one in every two psoriasis cases is usually hereditary]) that appears on the skin (doctors are still unable to explain what causes it).

3. Paget’s disease – can affect both men and women (men in more extreme cases), and is considered a rather deadly form of cancer. Not only is the disease dangerous in itself, but 50% of women who suffer from it are also diagnosed with having one or more breast tumors (ductal carcinoma in-situ, or invasive breast cancer [stages I – III]) within the same breast where the disease is present.

Symptoms – are usually in the form of a red scaly rash that affects the nipple (an extension to the areola [the dark skin circle around the nipple] may often be present too) that may itch or burn. With Paget’s disease – malignant cells are usually present in the epidermis (the surface layer of skin) of both the areola, and the nipple (malignant cells may be found either singularly or formed in small groups).

Also an inverted nipple (pulled inwards) together with a nipple discharge are both common signs that a rash is more than just a common skin complaint. However, in comparison with the disease and more common skin complaints, it usually only affects one breast (most skin complains affect the two breasts).

The three main dangers of Paget’s disease are as follows:

1. Is because Paget’s disease is so similar to both eczema and psoriasis; it may well get mis-diagnosed.

2. It is because of the presence of malignant (cancerous) cells.

3. Around 50% of women sufferers may also be diagnosed with tumors of the breast.

Note: All three of these dangers may result in either a woman losing a breast, or becoming just another statistic of breast cancer fatality. Regular self-checks are seen prudent for early diagnosis of breast cancer. Any doubt (even minor) over anything unusual found: within, on, or around (the nipple area) the breast, being put to rest by an early consultation with either a doctor or health adviser.

Breast Cancer Stages

28Cancer is a deadly disease which advances up slowly and steadily. Cancer can be caused in any part of the body. Breast cancer is one of them which mostly affect women. Breast cancer can be caused to both men and women but usually women are more prone to it because of their make up. The breast of women consists of gland which produces milk and it is then discharged by the nipples. Breast cancer is caused because of the formation of tumor cells in the breast region. These cells then affect the healthy cells present in the breast region. These tumor cells grow up in different breast cancer stages. If diagnosed in an early stage, can be cured easily though medication and therapy.

If you are interested in learning about different breast cancer stages, read on this article as it can give you some useful information. Breast cancer grows up in different stages and can be categorized in almost 6 stages. The first stage can be named as stage 0 – in this stage no signs of development of cancer cells can be seen. In this stage no movement or invading of the healthy cells by cancer cells can be seen. The second stage is named as stage 1 – in this stage movement or invading of the healthy cells by cancer cells can be seen. At this stage the size of the tumor is not more than 2 centimeters and no affect on lymph nodes can be seen at this stage. The next stage is stage 2 – this stage shows up the invasive breast cancer. The size of the tumor at this stage is more than 2 centimeters. At this stage cancer starts affecting the lymph nodes of the arm pit of same side. This stage is not an advanced stage as the lymph nodes are still away from one another and also the surrounding tissues.

The above stated stages are considered as early stages of breast cancer. Now we will discuss the advanced breast cancer stages. The next stage is called as stage 3 – this stage is further divided into 2 sub stages, Stage 3- A and stage 3-B. Stage 3-A shows that tumor has now grown up in size to above 5 centimeters. This is considered as an advanced stage as the lymph nodes are completely affected by the tumor cells and they stuck together forming a clump. Stage 3-B shows that tumor has spread to the skin of the breast, chest, and lymph nodes. The breast becomes hard and enlarged. Stage 4 – this stage shows that breast cancer has spread to different region like arm pit, mammary lymph nodes, clavicular lymph nodes, neck and shoulder and also to the lungs, bones and other surrounding parts. This stage is called as Metastatic cancer stage.

More Deadly Than Breast Cancer

27A few years ago I was asked if I knew what the most deadly gynecologic cancer was and I answered “Well, breast cancer of course.” Oh, how I was wrong. The American Cancer Society estimates that the average five year survival rate of breast cancer at any stage to actually be 89 percent. While no cancer is good that’s a pretty good rate. The correct answer to the question is ovarian cancer, and its five year survival rate (estimated by the American cancer society) is only 46 percent. We need to find out why this cancer is so deadly.

Cancer is a dangerous and mysterious thing to people that don’t know much about it. Well, everyone is made up of cells, cells are what make up tissue and tissue is what makes up our organs. Normally when a cell gets old and tired it dies just like we do and a new cell takes its place. Our body produces these new cells by growing and dividing healthy cells. Sometimes our body overproduces cells and this is when tumors (mass of tissue) are formed. These tumors aren’t always cancer; when they are not they are called benign tumors. When they are cancer they are call malignant; these are the ones that can be life-threatening. Both types of tumors can be removed but the cancerous ones are more likely to grow back and only they also can spread to different parts of your body. When this happens the cancer cells are breaking away from the original tumor and entering the blood stream to use it like a highway to travel around your body. When the cancer cells spread like this it’s called metastasis and the cancer can start to go new tumors. If these cells reach any of your organs and start to go new tumors and this is when damage can be done.

They call it ovarian cancer because the tumor first starts at the ovaries and is made up of over productive ovarian cells. The ovaries are part of the women’s reproductive system and are attached to the uterus by the fallopian tubes. When a malignant tumor starts to grow these areas can also be affected because of their close proximity to the ovaries. When this tumor starts to shed cancer cells the cells typically go to the abdomen first because it’s closest to where the reproductive system is located. Then as I said before the cancerous cells can start to affect your lymph nodes and enter your blood stream to travel to different organs.

Ovarian cancer is so deadly because it’s very hard to detect. Every year more than 14,600 women die from ovarian cancer in the United States. This may not seem like a lot when you think of all the billion people that live here but when about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year that number seems like a lot. So this means that on average 7 out of 10 women will die from this disease and this is all because it is so hard to detect. In order to detect it you have to know what the symptoms are. The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back or legs because of where the cancer is located in your body. You can also have a swollen or bloated abdomen because it can fill up with fluids. You will also feel very tired all the time and would have some nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or even diarrhea. Some less common symptoms would be shortness of breath, the urge to urinate often, and unusual vaginal bleeding. Now these are pretty general symptoms and many other disease or illnesses can cause them and that’s why it’s so hard to detect because ovarian cancer is not typical the very first thing we think of when we have one or more of these symptoms.

Most women would think if there was a problem that it would show up on their Pap test which is a once yearly screening that women get from their doctor. However, a Pap test is only screening for cervical cancer and it cannot be used to diagnose ovarian cancer. When women do go in to your doctor for the Pap test he or she should be doing a pelvic exam as well, during this they will feel your ovaries and organs in close proximity for any lumps or changes in shape and/or size. More often than not the doctors will not be able to feel a tumor until they are a substantial size. This is why we look to other testing as well as the pelvic exam to diagnose this cancer. If women who have abdominal bloating or pain and would go to the doctor, they may check your abdomen for fluid buildup. If they some find some a sample can be taken to test for ovarian cancer cells as part of the diagnoses. There is also blood testing where your doctor would check your CA-125 level to see if it is high. The CA-125 is a substance that is found on the surface of the ovarian cancer cells but also on some normal tissue, this is why a high level might indicate cancer. Unfortunately this test cannot be used as the only test for diagnosing ovarian cancer.

It is mainly used for monitoring a woman that has already been diagnosed and is going through treatment or as an early detection for the return of cancer after treatment has been completed. The next way to get diagnosed is by having an ultrasound done. There are two different types of ultrasounds that can be done; the first is the less invasive of the two. This is where they take the ultrasound device and press it up against your abdomen and the sound waves that it produces bounce off the organs to produce a picture for us to see. By using this they would be able to get a picture of the ovaries to see if there was a tumor or any abnormalities. The second type of ultrasound they can do is a transvaginal ultrasound and it does the same things as the regular one however this device is inserted into the vagina for a much better view of the ovaries. The last test to help diagnose this cancer is a biopsy. They will only do a biopsy if blood test and one of the ultrasounds have indicated that there may be a tumor. A biopsy is when they take a sample of tissue or fluid to look for cancer cells. Once they biopsy has been done a pathologist will look as the sample under a microscope for any cancer cells. If there are some found then they will be described as either grade 1, 2, or 3 and this is based off of how abnormal the cells look.

Once the doctors have determined that there are cancer cells present they have to determine what stage the disease is in before they can start any treatment. In order to find out what stage the cancer is in the doctor must know grade the tumor is which we discussed earlier and they also may need to run a series of more test such as a CT scan or a chest x-ray. The CT scan is where they would give you some contrast material and the machine would then take several pictures to get a clearer picture of your pelvis and abdomen to see any tumors or abdominal fluid. The chest x-ray is used to see if the cancer has spread to your lungs and if there is any fluid buildup there as well.

There are four stages of ovarian cancer; the first stage is called stage 1. Stage 1 is where cancer cells can be found on one or both ovaries or in abdominal fluid. Only 15 percent of the total women diagnosed have stage 1 and they have a 5 year survival rate of 93.8 percent (statistics). Stage 2 is where the cancer has spread to other reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes and the uterus. It can also be found in abdominal fluid as well as other tissue in the pelvis area. The 5 year survival rate for stage 2 is 72.8 percent and only 17 percent of women diagnosed have this stage. Stage 3 is where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and can be also found on the outside of the liver. This is the most common stage that women are diagnosed (62 percent) with only a 28.2 percent survival rate or 5 years (statistics). The last stage is stage 4 and this is when the cancer can be found in the lungs or in any other organs. So, at this point it has traveled out of both the pelvic and abdominal areas. This has the lowest survival rate of 27.3 percent and the lowest percent of women diagnosed at 7 percent (statistics).

Once the doctor has determined what stage you are in you can start treatment accordingly. Most women will have surgery to remove cancer cells and also both ovaries and fallopian tubes, your uterus, any nearby lymph nodes, as well as the omentum which is a thin fat pad that covers the intestines. If you only have stage 1 sometimes the doctors will leave the uterus intact and only take one ovary and fallopian tube but this depends on your age and whether or not you would like to become pregnant and have children. If the cancer is one of the other stages (2, 3 or 4) then they might have to go in further and remove as much cancer as they possibly can.

They can also do chemotherapy as a form of treatment. This is when “anticancer” drugs are given to kill the cancerous cell. The drugs can be given by either inserting them into the vein (IV), intraperitoneal (IP) which is given directly into the abdomen through a very thin tube, or by mouth via pill form (ovarian cancer 13). The side effects to the chemotherapy can be hair loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is because the drugs also harm normal cells, so it can damage your hair cells (hair loss) and the cells that line your digestive tract (vomiting and diarrhea) but it can also damage your blood cells and make your body bruise easier and you would be more susceptible to get infections because your blood cells are what help fight infections off.

As of right now we cannot explain why one women may develop this cancer and another will not but there are some women that are at higher risk. If you have any women in your family that has had ovarian cancer, specifically your mother, daughter, or sister you or a family member are at a higher risk. But, also if you or any other family members have had uterus, colon, rectum, or breast cancer you or a family member will be at a higher risk. Most women that are diagnosed with this disease are over the age of 55 and have never been pregnant. If you or a family member is at an increase risk you want to talk to your family member to make sure they are aware of these risks. Then I would encourage those at risk people to consult your doctor and see if anything can be done to make sure if you would so some signs of cancer, it could be detected early.

They may recommend genetic testing to see if you have a certain mutation of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene which has been linked to ovarian cancer and breast cancer. If you go and have this testing done you will have to provide a detailed family history and also give a blood sample. They will test they blood for mutations in your DNA, specifically looking at your BRCA 1 and 2 genes. When you get the results back they will let you know if they found a mutation and if they did you know that you for sure are at an increase risk. If they don’t find a mutation they will still put you into an at risk category based on your family history. This testing has been very important in determining the links between certain mutations and ovarian cancer. The more data we can collect the better off we are on finding a connection.

The most important thing to remember is that this is the most deadly gynecologic cancer with very nonspecific symptoms, 15,000 women die from this cancer every year. If you or anyone you know are having any of these symptoms you should talk to them and encourage them to contact their doctor in hopes of early detection. The earlier the detection the better chances you or a family member has of not becoming one of the 15,000.