Men Can Develop Benign and Malignant Breast Problems

Breast problems in men range from harmless to life-threatening, and a doctor should be consulted for a proper diagnosis.

Man and woman jogging together

Types of Male Breast Conditions

Irritation of the nipple due to prolonged, intense exercise in humid or hot temperatures is a common condition found in males. Caused by the repetitive motion of the nipples rubbing against a t-shirt, symptoms can present as pain, redness, and bleeding. While painful and scary to see, this condition is benign and there are simple remedies that can help relieve symptoms. Applying petroleum jelly, protecting with Band-Aids, or running without a shirt are a few options to help decrease the condition.

Gynecomastia is the enlargement of breast tissue in males. Usually benign and reversible, gynecomastia should be evaluated by a provider to rule out any underlying disease or hormonal changes. Gynecomastia can be the correlated with being overweight. However, true gynecomastia is the enlargement of breast glandular tissue caused by hormonal fluctuation. A slight shift in the balance of testosterone and estrogen in men can cause breast tissue in grow. Other causes include liver disease and certain types of medications. It is important to let your provider know what medications you are currently taking in order to rule out any adverse reactions. Marijuana, amphetamines, and heroin can cause gynecomastia, as well.

While it is rare in men, breast cancer can and does occur. Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are finding a palpable lump, changes to the nipple, nipple discharge, or skin thickening. There are risk factors associated with developing male breast cancer. These include growing older or having high estrogen levels due to being overweight, taking hormonal supplementation, or having liver disease. Just like in women, it is important for men to understand their genetic risk factors and family history of breast and ovarian cancer in order to effectively determine their likelihood of developing breast cancer.

Questions?

The Breast Health Clinic can be reached at (310) 582-7209. If you have questions regarding a new symptom or want to make an appointment for evaluation please call and a staff member will assist with navigating you in the right direction.

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