> Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations for Men at Higher Risk Due to an Inherited Gene Mutation or Strong Family History
Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen (about one percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States) . Regular breast cancer screening is not recommended for all men. However, for certain men at higher risk due to an inherited gene mutation or a strong family history, screening may increase the chances that breast cancer is found early, when it is most treatable.
If you have concerns about your risk of breast cancer, talk to your health care provider.
Men at higher risk of breast cancer
Some men may have a higher risk of breast cancer, including those with a :
Learn about BRCA2 and BRCA1 inherited gene mutations and male breast cancer risk.
Learn about family history of breast cancer and breast cancer risk.
Learn about genetic testing for BRCA2 or BRCA1 mutations.
Breast cancer screening for men at higher risk
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that men at higher risk for breast cancer :
- Have a clinical breast exam every six to 12 months, starting at age 25
- Consider having a mammogram at age 40 (depending on the findings from this first mammogram and the amount of breast tissue, yearly mammograms may be recommended)
Men at higher risk for breast cancer should also be aware of the warning signs of breast cancer.
Warning signs of male breast cancer
Any change in the breast (or chest area) or nipple can be a warning sign of male breast cancer including [121-124]:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast (usually painless, but may be tender)
- Dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin of the breast
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of the nipple (inverted nipple) or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge
Men tend to have much less breast tissue compared to women, so some of these signs can be easier to notice in men than in women. These symptoms may also be signs of a benign (non-cancer) breast condition. If you notice any of these signs or other changes in your breast or nipple, see your health care provider.
Learn about benign breast conditions in men.
BRCA2 and BRCA1 inherited gene mutations and male breast cancer risk
BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer genes 1 and 2) are the most well-known genes linked to breast cancer risk. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can be passed to you through your mother’s or father’s side of the family and can affect the risk of both female and male cancers.
BRCA2 mutations clearly increase the risk of male breast [125-126]. BRCA1 carriers may also be at increased risk of male breast cancer, but this link is less clear . Male breast cancer is more likely than female breast cancer to be related to gene mutations. While five to 10 percent of female breast cancers are considered to be due to gene mutations, up to 40 percent of male breast cancers may be related to BRCA2 mutations .
Despite an increased risk in some men, male breast cancer is rare. The lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 1,000 for men at average risk and about 65 in 1,000 for men with a BRCA2 mutation [126,128].
Learn about genetic testing.
Find statistics on male breast cancer.
Learn more about risk factors for male breast cancer.
Learn about treatment for male breast cancer.