Male breast cancer: a review of clinical management
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Male breast cancer incidence is 1% of all breast cancers and is increasing. We aim to present an overview of male breast cancer with particular emphasis on clinical management.
Studies were identified by an online search of literature in the MEDLINE database till June 2006 followed by an extensive review of bibliographies.
Increased risk factors include genetic predisposition as in BRCA2 families; testicular dysfunction due to chromosomal abnormality such as Klinefelter’s syndrome or environmental factors such as chronic heat exposure and radiation. Clinical assessment with biopsy is the hallmark of diagnosis. Earlier presentations are becoming commoner but there are wide geographical differences. Surgical treatment involves simple or modified radical mastectomy along with surgical assessment of the axilla, either via sentinel node biopsy in clinically node-negative disease or axillary sampling/clearance in node-positive disease. Reconstructions for restoring body image have been recently reported. Indications for adjuvant therapies are similar to that in women. For metastatic disease, tamoxifen is still the mainstay for oestrogen receptor positive disease. For oestrogen receptor negative disease, doxorubicin based chemotherapy regimens are used. In addition, the oft neglected psychological aspects of men having a “cancer of women” are increasingly being recognised.
There is, thus, need for further increasing awareness among men to reduce stigma associated with presentation of symptoms related to breast. This should be in addition to stressing to clinicians the ways of earlier detection and tailor-made “gender oriented” treatment of breast cancer in men.