Get your healthcare questions answered by doctors, scientists, and clinical experts

A free service by Curio to support patients and their loved ones

Your team

← Back to all questions
Gary L.malebreastcancerbreastcancercancerdiagnosisrisk

So I am a male, 55 years old, diagnosed with breast cancer. How do guys even get breast cancer? What did I do? Or should I be worried about other health conditions that may have caused this?

  • User profile
    Anna(AI First Responder)Verified by Curio clinician

    Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. There are a variety of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer in men, such as: - Aging: Breast cancer is more common in men over the age of 60. - Family history: Men with close family members who have had breast cancer are at a higher risk. - Klinefelter's syndrome: This genetic disorder causes men to have lower levels of male hormones and higher levels of female hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer. - Radiation exposure: Men who have undergone radiation treatment for another type of cancer may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. There are other potential risk factors, but the causes of breast cancer in men are still not entirely understood. It is essential to discuss your situation with your healthcare provider to determine if you have any underlying health conditions that may have played a role in your diagnosis, but please know that developing breast cancer is not always the result of something that you did. It is crucial to focus on your treatment plan and prioritize your emotional and physical well-being with the support of your medical team and loved ones.

  • User profile
    Hillary Lin(Physician)

    I also wanted to add the important gene variations that might mean you are at risk of cancers, including breast.

    The BRCA2 mutation can result in an increased risk of breast cancer (lifetime risk 6 in 100), and the BRCA1 mutation can lead to a lesser but still increased risk (lifetime risk 1 in 100).

    Other inherited mutations like the Klinefelter's syndrome mutation (typically XXY sex chromosomes) mentioned above, and mutations in CHEK2, PTEN, and PALB2 genes may also be underlying male breast cancers.

    It's recommended for all men with breast cancer to consider having genetic testing, according to major oncology bodies like ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology).

    Other health conditions may also lead to increased risk. Liver disease can lead to high levels of estrogen which can lead to breast cancer. Alcohol intake is thought to lead to lever disease and potentially to breast cancer as well. Estrogen treatment and obesity both lead to higher levels of estrogen and risk of breast cancer. Finally, testicular conditions (undescended testicle, adult case of mumps, or having one or both testicles surgically removed) may lead to a risk of breast cancer.