Male Breasts and Cancer

 What? Breast Cancer in Men??


   When Rob Fechtner of Napa woke up one morning in 2006 to a sore spot on his chest and a strange indentation in his nipple, his first thought was that he’d pulled a muscle. Even his doctor told him it was probably nothing to worry about.
But the inverted nipple bothered him, and with a little online research he learned it was a symptom of breast cancer – in men as well as women. He pushed his doctor for a mammogram, and two days later he learned that he did, in fact, have breast cancer. He’s since had a mastectomy and been treated with chemotherapy.
“Before I went on the Internet, I had no idea men could get breast cancer,” said Fechtner, 51. “I should have known in the back of my mind that it was a possibility. We need to get the message out there to men.”

Monday, December 7, 2009 (SF Chronicle)
Men need to check for breast cancer, too Erin Allday, Chronicle Staff Writer
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The above is an excerpt from a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle. There has been very little information in the media about breast cancer in men. When men come in for a consultation with Dr. Delgado, most are surprised when told that men can get breast cancer, however according to the American Cancer Society  it is usually in men of an average age of 67.  Some breast cancers are linked to inherited (from either parent) mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tumor supressor genes. While it is very rare in men…less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States according to the American Cancer Society, it must be addressed when evaluating any breast surgery for men and women. That is why anytime Dr. Delgado does a breast reduction surgery, breast tissue samples are sent to pathology.

Dr. Delgado has done many breast reduction surgeries for women. Twice he has had the pathology report come back positive for breast cancer. This is devastating news to share with a patient that has just undergone surgery, but most likely has saved their lives.

Better news for men, of all the gynecomastia cases Dr. Delgado has performed, none of the pathology reports have come back positive for breast cancer. That does not mean you are not at risk, most people know of at least one man who has had breast cancer, or you may not be aware of it because men are much less likely to discuss it.

Many men, on hearing the requirement of the pathology test, request not to have it done in order the save the additional expense, which can run as high as $500. This is not where you want to save money…this can save your life. If you have private insurance, most likely your insurance company will cover the cost.

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