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Are Men with Gynecomastia at a Higher Risk for Breast Cancer?

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While the majority of breast cancer cases you may hear about are likely associated with women, breast cancer can develop in men, as well. In fact, approximately 2% of all diagnosed breast cancers occur in men. Although gynecomastia is a condition characterized by the overdevelopment of male breast tissue, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest the condition itself is directly linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. That said, men should be cognizant of the unique indications of both gynecomastia and breast cancer, as the two concerns may manifest similarly to the untrained eye.

Gynecomastia typically appears as a smooth, firm growth below the nipple-areolar complex. Composed of excess glandular tissue and/or fat, this condition can either be present in one or both breasts, and tenderness in the area is common. In contrast, male breast cancer generally manifests as an asymmetrical nodule that has a hard or rubbery consistency. The tumor can grow anywhere on the breast (including beneath the nipple), though breast cancer is often confined to just one breast instead of both.

Ultimately, if you have concerns about any irregularities you may discover on your chest, it’s always a good idea to get them evaluated by an experienced and qualified physician. When identified early, the success of breast cancer treatment in men increases significantly. On the other hand, should gynecomastia be the issue, male breast reduction performed by a skilled, board certified plastic surgeon can be an effective and relatively easy solution for attaining an improved chest contour.

Dr. Daniel Y. Maman

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