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Breast Cancer in Men

AMBULATORY CARE:

Breast cancer in men

usually starts in a duct. You may feel uncomfortable about talking to your healthcare provider if you notice changes or problems in your breasts. It is important to have changes and problems checked. Breast cancer is less common in men than in women, but men can get breast cancer. Breast cancer found early is easier to treat.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling or a lump in your breast that is usually not painful
  • Blood or clear discharge from your nipple
  • Skin that is dimpled like an orange peel
  • Nipple that looks like it has been pushed in
  • Red or scaling skin on your nipple or breast
  • Swollen lymph nodes under your arm or near your collarbone

Call your local emergency department (911 in the US) if:

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or short of breath.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Call your doctor or oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have any new or different pain.
  • You are vomiting and cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • You are depressed or feel that you cannot cope with your illness.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Surgery is the most common treatment of breast cancer in men. Surgery may be used to remove your breast tissue. You may also need to have one or more lymph nodes removed. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about surgery for breast cancer in men.
  • Hormone medicine may be used if the cancer is sensitive to hormones.
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-ray beams to kill cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy medicines are used to kill cancer cells. You may receive one medicine or a combination of medicines.
  • Targeted therapy is medicine that finds markers on some cancer cells and kills the cells.
  • Hormone medicine may be used if the cancer is sensitive to hormones.

Breast self-exams:

You can check your breasts for lumps and other changes every month. Contact your oncologist if you notice any breast changes. Ask for more information about how to do breast self-exams.

Breast Self-exam

Have mammograms as directed:

Mammograms may be recommended if your risk for breast cancer is high. You may need a mammogram every 6 to 12 months. Ask if and how often you need a mammogram.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine can damage blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage breast cancer. Smoking also increases your risk for new or returning cancer and delays healing after treatment. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.

Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed:

Your oncologist may tell you to limit or not drink alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk for new or returning breast cancer. If you choose to drink, limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Exercise as directed:

Ask your oncologist about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise may help to decrease the side effects of treatment, such as nausea, vomiting, and weakness. It may also help improve your mood. Stop exercising if you feel pain in your chest, have trouble breathing, or feel dizzy. Do not exercise if you have a fever or if you had anticancer medicines through an IV in the last 24 hours.

Walking for Exercise

Eat a variety of healthy foods:

Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. If you are nauseated from cancer treatment, it may help to eat several small meals during the day instead of a few large meals. Your healthcare provider may also recommend liquid food to make sure you get enough nutrition and calories.

Drink liquids as directed:

It is especially important to drink enough liquids if you are vomiting from chemotherapy. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Try to drink liquids throughout the day, and not just when you feel thirsty. It may be helpful to drink liquids between your meals instead of with your meals.

Follow up with your doctor or oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing treatment and follow-up. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Breast Cancer in Men (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

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