Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 03:50 pm

Breast cancer is widely understood to be a women’s illness, however, men can get breast cancer too, and it is just as serious

Breast cancer in men is often misunderstood, contributing to late detection and an increased likelihood of death.

Do men have breasts?

While men can develop enlarged breasts for various reasons, breast cancer doesn’t only occur in men with enlarged breasts.

Breast cancer develops in breast tissue which both men and women have. According to, until puberty, both girls and boys have a similar amount of breast tissue. In girls, it develops into breasts over time, triggered by hormonal changes.

Without the oestrogen trigger, the breast tissue in men and boys does not commonly develop, although it does develop in some men into gynecomastia.

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Why do men develop breast cancer?

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says breast cancer in men develops for the same reason that breast cancer develops in women.

Cells in the breast tissue multiply uncontrollably and form tumours which could be either benign or cancerous. This doesn’t happen as often in men as it does in women. Many men develop breast cancer.

What does breast cancer look like in men?

Women are encouraged to have test, self-examinations and regular mammograms, however, the approach to breast cancer in men is less thoroughly monitored.

Breast cancer usually presents as a lump behind the nipple, changing of the colour and texture of the breast area. According to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, men are less likely to consider that a lump in their breast could be breast cancer. This means men are less likely to be diagnosed early.

Risk factors for breast cancer in men

The risk factors in men are similar to those in women; weight, a lifestyle exposing you to cancer risks like smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol and according to  men who have been exposed to radiation, have high oestrogen levels and family history of breast cancer are more likely to develop breast cancer themselves.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.