How do you recognize breast cancer in men?


A large part of the population regards breast cancer (malignant changes in the tissue of the mammary gland) as a typical disease of women. In fact, it is mostly women who get it - around 70,000 annually. But men can also be affected by breast cancer, but much less often (approx. 650 new cases per year).

Breast cancer is often diagnosed much later in men because, unlike women, there is no regular screening program (such as mammography). For this reason, the prognosis for sick men appears to be significantly worse than that for women. Late diagnosis at a very advanced stage of cancer drastically reduces the likelihood of a complete cure.

For more information see also: Breast cancer in men

Affected men usually only notice one by chance in the relatively late stage of the disease Change in her breast tissue. This could be a palpable lump or an unusual discharge of fluid from the nipple. Small, non-healing wounds or inflammations as well as skin retractions can also provide an indication.

If this is the case, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible, who can initiate a more detailed diagnosis. Because the same applies to a man suffering from breast cancer: The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the prognosis.

Of the Therapy plan a man is very similar to a woman. The first and therefore most important place is the operation, in which as much as possible of the cancerous tissue is removed. This is usually followed by radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy, because most breast cancer cells in male patients grow depending on hormones. If the hormones required for growth are withdrawn from them or if the corresponding hormone receptors are blocked, tumor growth can be significantly slowed down or even stopped.


The diagnosis of breast cancer in men is analogous to that in women. First, the doctor thoroughly scans the breast tissue for structural changes. In this way, an initial assessment is made as to whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Benign tumors of the breast are mostly smoothly bounded and movable.
Vicious however, grow deep into the tissue, are thus immovable and can even do one Retraction of the nipple cause.

The next step in diagnosis involves the Imaging, which with a Ultrasound examination begins. With this method, the size and position of the changed area of ​​the breast tissue can already be estimated (see: Ultrasound examination of the breast).
The most important form of imaging, however, is Mammography, so the X-ray examination the chest. However, due to the higher density of breast tissue in men, all imaging methods are less informative than in women.
In order to actually be able to make the diagnosis of breast cancer, a Tissue biopsy from the breast, which is examined microscopically (see: tissue samples in breast cancer).

MRI for breast cancer

Another possible method for diagnosing breast cancer is the MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance imaging). A strong magnetic field is generated, which acts on the atomic nuclei of the hydrogen atoms in the body. Depending on the tissue, the human body has different amounts of water or hydrogen, which means that different shades of gray are shown in the MRT image. This form of imaging takes about 15 to 30 minutes and produces no radiation exposure (different from e.g. the X-ray).
The MRI can make both longitudinal and cross sections of the body visible and thus enables a optimal calculation of tumor position and size. Furthermore, benign tumors have a different hydrogen content than malignant ones, which means that when an MRI image is assessed, a first assessment of malignancy lets meet. If the findings in the mammography are not clear, this procedure offers a good opportunity for more precise information. Thanks to the various planes of the sectional image, almost every angle of the body can be viewed precisely and displayed independently of the tissue density.


Chest pain is not a typical symptom of breast cancer.

Typical of breast cancer is one painless, palpable lump. Should there be chest pain, this is not a typical sign of the presence of breast cancer.
Only after advanced metastasis (Spread of tumor cells), pain can occur depending on the organ involvement. As a rule, breast cancer first spreads to the lymphatic vessels of the armpit, which, however, does not cause pain. However, it can then spread to the bones, lungs, liver and brain. Metastases in the bones in particular can be associated with stress pain. However, this is not an early symptom.


Under the term "Lump" in the chest is understood to mean a thickening of the mammary gland tissue. This can occur in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and consistencies, mostly in women, but also in men. There is a palpable lump in the chest no evidence of the presence of breast cancer. It can also have many other rather harmless causes, such as a Mastopathy (benign changes in the breast tissue) Fibroadenoma (benign tumor), cysts or benign swelling of the breast.
It is therefore advisable not to panic too quickly, but nevertheless to consult a doctor as soon as possible in order to rule out a malignant disease of the breast or, if necessary, to initiate therapy at an early stage.