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What can men do to prevent breast cancer?

What can men do to prevent breast cancer?

Symptoms in men are the same as in women. Most often, sufferers feel a painless hardness or lump, usually behind the nipple. Other symptoms include nipple discharge, skin tightening, soreness, and armpit swelling. In the event of such signs, the general practitioner or breast center should be consulted urgently.

There are “lifestyle” factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer: obesity, regular alcohol consumption and lack of exercise. A healthy lifestyle can reduce not only the risk of breast cancer but also colon cancer, for example. But there are also risk factors that cannot be influenced: hereditary breast cancer, changes in the number of chromosomes in the genome of sufferers, liver disease. If there is a family history of breast cancer or if a man has already had breast cancer, genetic counseling at a recognized breast center is recommended.

There is no screening for early detection

In Switzerland, 50 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Less than 1% of all men are affected. Most men are over 60 years old at the time of diagnosis. Because breast cancer is very rare in men, there are no early detection tests for it. Therefore, the disease is usually more advanced than in women when it is first diagnosed. Explanations are the same as for women. A mammogram, ultrasound, and tissue biopsy are done to confirm the diagnosis. Because male breast cancer is rare, there are no high-quality studies on its treatment. This is why it is based on the treatment guidelines for women.

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Multiple treatments are often combined

The pillars of treatment are: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and anti-hormonal therapy. Depending on the stage of the tumor and the severity of the tumor, several of these treatments are combined. Usually the breast is removed. If there is no evidence of lymph node involvement in the armpit, only the lymph node closest to the tumor (the so-called sentinel lymph node) is removed. Otherwise, more lymph nodes will have to be removed.

The prognosis is good, especially for small tumors that are not affected by the lymph node. Five years after the initial illness, 96% of the men are still alive. In short, male breast cancer is very rare. The most common sign of breast cancer is a painless lump behind the nipple. There is no concrete way to prevent breast cancer. However, a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of disease.