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Breaking the Silence: Male Breast Cancer – Causes, Treatment, and the Role of Gynaecologist

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

As we celebrate a year of providing valuable health insights, it's crucial to address a topic that is often overlooked and misunderstood – male breast cancer. While breast cancer is commonly associated with women, men can also be affected by this disease. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, treatment options, and the significant role gynaecologists play in understanding and managing male breast cancer.

Male Breast Cancer
Male Breast Cancer

Causes of Male Breast Cancer:

Male breast cancer is a rare condition, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancers. However, understanding the risk factors and potential causes is vital for early detection and effective treatment. Key causes include:


Genetic Mutations:

Inherited gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are known to increase the risk of breast cancer in both men and women. Men with a family history of breast cancer should be particularly vigilant about monitoring their breast health.


Hormonal Imbalances:

Hormonal imbalances, including an increase in estrogen levels, can contribute to the development of male breast cancer. Conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome, liver disease, and obesity can disrupt hormone levels.


Radiation Exposure:

Previous exposure to radiation, either in medical treatments or occupational settings, is a risk factor for male breast cancer.


Age:

While breast cancer is more common in older women, men can develop the disease at any age. The risk increases with age, and men over 60 are more susceptible.


Family History:

Individuals with close relatives who have had breast cancer may have an increased risk. This emphasizes the importance of genetic counselling for those with a family history of the disease.


Treatment Options for Male Breast Cancer:

Early detection and prompt treatment are crucial for a positive outcome in male breast cancer cases. Treatment modalities are often similar to those used for female breast cancer and may include:


Surgery:

Surgical intervention is a primary treatment for male breast cancer. Gynaecologists, who specialize in women's reproductive health, also have expertise in breast surgery. They may perform mastectomy (removal of the breast tissue) or lumpectomy (removal of the tumour and surrounding tissue).


Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to target and eliminate cancer cells. It is often employed post-surgery to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.


Hormone Therapy:

Since male breast cancer is often hormone-receptor-positive, hormone therapy may be recommended. Gynaecologists, with their understanding of hormonal imbalances, can administer medications to block the effects of hormones on cancer cells.


Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs to kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Gynaecologists, collaborating with oncologists, can tailor chemotherapy regimens to target the specific characteristics of male breast cancer.


The Role of Gynaecologists in Male Breast Cancer:

While gynaecologists traditionally focus on women's reproductive health, their expertise extends to breast health, making them valuable contributors to the management of male breast cancer. Here's how gynaecologists play a crucial role:


Early Detection and Diagnosis:

Gynaecologists are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking medical advice related to breast concerns, regardless of gender. They can perform clinical breast examinations, educate patients about self-examinations, and facilitate the early detection of any abnormalities.


Surgical Expertise:

Gynaecologists, being skilled in various surgical procedures, can perform breast surgeries with precision. In male breast cancer cases, this may involve mastectomy or lumpectomy to remove cancerous tissue while preserving the aesthetics of the chest.


Hormonal Management:

Gynaecologists are well-versed in hormonal imbalances and their impact on health. In male breast cancer cases, they may collaborate with oncologists to administer hormone therapy, helping to block the effects of estrogen on cancer cells.


Collaboration with Oncologists:

The multidisciplinary nature of cancer care requires collaboration between different specialists. Gynaecologists work closely with oncologists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to the unique needs of male breast cancer patients.


Conclusion:

As we commemorate a year of empowering individuals with health knowledge, addressing male breast cancer is a crucial step in promoting awareness and understanding. Breaking the silence surrounding this less-discussed aspect of breast cancer is essential for early detection, effective treatment, and improved outcomes.


Gynaecologists, with their expertise in breast health and surgical skills, play a pivotal role in the diagnosis and treatment of male breast cancer. By recognizing their contribution and fostering collaboration between gynaecologists and oncologists, we can enhance the quality of care for individuals facing this rare but impactful disease.


On this anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to inclusivity in healthcare discussions, ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender, receives the support and information needed to navigate the complexities of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Together, we can break down barriers, dispel myths, and continue our journey towards a healthier and more informed future.

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