Breast cancer in men: Signs and symptoms including swollen glands

We often relate breast cancer to women, but in rare cases, a small number of men can be diagnosed with it.

This is because it can grow in the small amount of breast tissue that men have behind their nipples.

It may be rare in men but it is still vital to know the signs and symptoms to look out for so you can get an early diagnosis.

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Breast cancer in men typically occurs in those over 60, but can “very occasionally affect younger men” as stated on the NHS website.

Here are the symptoms of breast cancer in men as outlined by the NHS.

  • A lump in the breast, this is usually hard, painless and will not move around within the breast
  • The nipple turning inwards
  • Fluid oozing from the nipple, also known as nipple discharge which could be streaked with blood
  • A sore or rash around the nipple that does not go away
  • The nipple or surrounding skin becoming hard, red or swollen
  • Small bumps in the armpit, which are swollen glands

The main symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast.

The NHS explains:

  • It will only be in one breast
  • Grow under or around the nipple
  • Painless (in some rare cases they can hurt)
  • Feel hard or rubbery
  • Will not move around the breast
  • Feel bumpy rather than smooth
  • Get bigger over time

The NHS adds “most lumps and swellings are not a sign of cancer” and are usually caused by something harmless.

These could occur because it is an enlarged male breast tissue, known as gynaecomastia , a fatty lump called lipoma, or a fluid-filled bump which is a cyst .

However, sometimes people can develop further symptoms if they have cancer and it spreads to other parts of the body, including to the lungs, liver or bones.

The symptoms of this can include:

  • Feeling nauseous
  • Aching or painful bones
  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy skin with yellowing of the skin and eyes, called jaundice

It is important to see a GP if you have a lump in your breast, any other worrying symptoms as outlined above or have a history of breast cancer in your family and are worried about your chances of getting it.

For more information on breast cancer in men visit the NHS website here.

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