The phenomenon of breast cancer in men

Local News

NEW YORK — Though it is rare, men can get breast cancer.  While the disease is most commonly found in women, about one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States reportedly is found in a man. 

It’s estimated that there will be almost 2,700 new cases in this country this year. That figure has increased in recent years.

Oncologist Dr. Adriana Suarez-Ligon believes the number of cases has increased because more attention is being given to male breast cancer and men are becoming more conscious of self and doctor examination.

Jim Keegan of Bergen County, New Jersey expressed “shock and disbelief” back in 2013 when his wife felt a small lump under his skin.  

“It was something hard and the size of a pea,” he told PIX11 News.  “We went to our physician and he too didn’t like what he felt and said we should have a mammogram.”  

A biopsy confirmed Keegan had breast cancer. He had a mastectomy and eight years later, he remains in remission.

The most common kinds of breast cancer in men are the kinds in women: Invasive ductal carcinoma in which the cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue.  Invasive lobular carcinoma occurs when cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. Ductal carcinoma (DCIS) is a breast disease that may lead to invasive breast cancer.

Dr. Robert Bard is a Manhattan radiologist who uses advanced 3D ultrasound technology for early detection of breast and other forms of cancer. 

He claims his procedure is more efficient than a mammogram which he says “requires squeezing the breasts in between plates for two pictures on each side. With my machine, I put this probe directly over the lump and see the picture immediately.”

In the past few years, Dr. Bard has used his procedure to detect breast cancer in a number of men, including a few 9/11 first responders.  

Dr. Suarez-Ligon is not surprised because she says, “exposure to toxins and extra chemicals can be an extreme risk factor for breast cancer.”

Research continues to determine other risk factors like genetics, diet, and lifestyle, and the impact they may have on the development of breast cancer.  Dr. Suarez-Ligon said body awareness is important. 

She advised men, “if you notice that there is a growth in one side of your chest versus the other, and it’s firm under the nipple, have it checked by a doctor.” 

Additionally she said look for skin changes, or nipple discharges which are abnormal.

Cancer survivor Jim Keegan suggests, “ask a physician to examine your breast at your annual physical and if something is there take action right away.”

Oncologists note that early detection is the key to survival because the chances of a man getting breast cancer are so rare, most men neglect examining themselves or asking a doctor to do it. 

How to do a self exam:

How to do a breast self exam (Male Breast Cancer Coalition)

For additional information about male breast cancer visit:

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