ZocdocAnswersCan men get breast cancer too?

Question

Can men get breast cancer too?

My husband is a bit overweight and has some extra fat around his chest. I'm worried that if he doesn't exercise and make it go away he could end up with breast cancer because it runs in his family. Do men get breast cancer in the same way that women do?

Answer

The quick answer to your question is yes, men can get breast cancer. However, it is very very rare, and usually is not screened for, nor is it something that you should worry about. The tissue that is susceptible to developing breast cancer is the glandular tissue that is designed to make milk. This type of tissue is what makes up most of the breast in women. This tissue is present in men, but is there in a very low concentration. Men that are overweight can store more fatty tissue everywhere in their bodies including in the chest area. This fatty tissue is not typically made of the glands that are found in women's breasts. Thus, being overweight does not make your husband measurably more susceptible to breast cancer than a thin man. On exception to what I've said above is if your husband is a carrier for the breast cancer gene (also known as BRCA). I only mention this because you said he has a family history. If he has this gene, then he is at a slightly higher risk for breast cancer than most men. This is a great question that should be brought up at your husband's next primary care physician visit. I suggest that you schedule this appointment soon. His doctor will know the details of his family history and will be able to speak more pointedly about this issue.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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