Breast Cancer Diagnosis Hits About 1% of Men

By Benjamin Cox on October 6, 2023 at 3:35pm

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is typically thought of as a condition that happens predominantly to women, but a small percentage of men, typically older men, are diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 833 men have a chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Jacksonville Memorial Hospital lead mammography technologist Amanda Vortman says that diagnosis of breast cancer looks a bit different for men than it does for women: “Men will not come in for a mammogram to use as a screening tool. Mammograms for men are done basically as a diagnostic mammogram, meaning they are typically are coming in for one because they have an issue. It is very common. We have a handful of men that will come in for a mammogram at JMH per month. Many times it may not even be related to breast cancer with the issues that they have. Our goal is to educate guys on the fact that you have a 1% chance of developing breast cancer. Also, the men that come in, there is a common thing that most men develop in their breast tissue that can kind of mimic some of those situations that they may think might be breast cancer. With that, we educate them on how to take care of things, what to look for, but it is extremely common for men to have mammograms.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, older Black men are more likely to be diagnosed and die from metastatic breast cancer. Incidence and death rates of male breast cancer are highest among men aged 80 years or older. However, men aged 60 to 69 years account for the highest proportion of male breast cancer cases and deaths.

Because screening for male breast cancer is not routinely recommended, any lumps or changes in breast tissue should be checked by a health care provider right away. By routinely discussing family health history with their patients, health care providers may identify men who may be at increased risk of developing breast cancer and should refer them for genetic counseling.