Male breast cancer

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Male breast cancer is a relatively rare cancer and knowing how to recognize the signs can help a person get early treatment.

Did you know that male breast cancer accounts for fewer than 1% of all cancer diagnoses worldwide?

Male breast cancer

One factor in diagnosis delay is a lack of awareness. Women know how to look out for changes that could indicate breast cancer, there is less awareness among men, which means they may be less likely to seek help in the early stages.

Breast cancer can also affect males differently, because of their small amount of breast tissue in comparison with females.


The main symptom of male breast cancer is a lump in the breast area.

Possible symptoms of male breast cancer include:

  • a lump in one breast, which is usually painless
  • nipple retraction, ulceration, and discharge
  • skin puckering or dimpling on the breast
  • redness or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple

If cancer spreads, additional symptoms may include:

  • swelling in the lymph glands, in or near the underarm area
  • breast pain
  • bone pain

Tests and diagnosis

If a person notices changes in their breast, they should see a doctor.

They will also carry out a physical examination.

They may suggest the following tests:


Several treatment options are available depending on how big the tumor is and whether cancer has spread to other areas.


Options include:

Mastectomy: The surgeon removes the whole breast and some of the surrounding tissue.

Breast-conserving surgery: The surgeon removes only part of the breast.

Lymphectomy: The surgeon removes the affected lymph nodes.

A doctor will advise on the best option.


If a man receives a diagnosis of breast cancer in the early stages, there is a good chance of effective treatment. It can sometimes be hard to get an early diagnosis since the disease is rare.

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer increases the chances of getting early treatment.

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