Incidence and Mortality

Estimated new cases and deaths from breast cancer (men only) in the United States in 2016:[1]

New cases: 2,600.

Deaths: 440.

Male breast cancer is rare[2]. Less than 1% of all breast carcinomas occur in men[3][4]. The mean age at diagnosis is between 60 and 70 years, though men of all ages can be affected with the disease.

Risk Factors

Predisposing risk factors [5] appear to include radiation exposure, estrogen administration, and diseases associated with hyperestrogenism, such as cirrhosis or Klinefelter syndrome[6]. Definite familial tendencies are evident with an increased incidence seen in men who have a number of female relatives with breast cancer. An increased risk of male breast cancer has been reported in families in which the BRCA2 mutation on chromosome 13q has been identified[7][8].


The pathology is similar to that of female breast cancer, and infiltrating ductal cancer is the most common tumor type[9]. Intraductal cancer has been described as well. Inflammatory carcinoma and Paget disease of the nipple have also been seen in men, but lobular carcinoma in situ has not[9]. Lymph node involvement and the hematogenous pattern of spread are similar to those found in female breast cancer. The TNM staging system for male breast cancer is identical to the staging system for female breast cancer. (Refer to Histopathologic Classification of Breast Cancer in the General Information About Breast Cancer section and Definitions of TNM and AJCC Stage Groupings in the Stage Information for Breast Cancer section in the PDQ summary on Breast Cancer Treatment for more information.)

Prognostic Factors

Prognostic factors that have been evaluated include the size of the lesion and the presence or absence of lymph node involvement, both of which correlate well with prognosis[5][10]. Whether ploidy and S phase correlate with survival is uncertain[11]. Estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor status and HER2/neu gene amplification should be reported[12].


Overall survival is similar to that of women with breast cancer. The impression that male breast cancer has a worse prognosis may stem from the tendency toward diagnosis at a later stage[2][5][13].


1. American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2016. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society, 2016. Available online. Last accessed May 19, 2016.

2. Giordano SH, Cohen DS, Buzdar AU, et al.: Breast carcinoma in men: a population-based study. Cancer 101 (1): 51-7, 2004.[PUBMED Abstract]

3. Borgen PI, Wong GY, Vlamis V, et al.: Current management of male breast cancer. A review of 104 cases. Ann Surg 215 (5): 451-7; discussion 457-9, 1992.[PUBMED Abstract]

4. Fentiman IS, Fourquet A, Hortobagyi GN: Male breast cancer. Lancet 367 (9510): 595-604, 2006.[PUBMED Abstract]

5. Giordano SH, Buzdar AU, Hortobagyi GN: Breast cancer in men. Ann Intern Med 137 (8): 678-87, 2002.[PUBMED Abstract]

6. Hultborn R, Hanson C, Köpf I, et al.: Prevalence of Klinefelter's syndrome in male breast cancer patients. Anticancer Res 17 (6D): 4293-7, 1997 Nov-Dec.[PUBMED Abstract]

7. Wooster R, Bignell G, Lancaster J, et al.: Identification of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2. Nature 378 (6559): 789-92, 1995 Dec 21-28.[PUBMED Abstract]

8. Thorlacius S, Tryggvadottir L, Olafsdottir GH, et al.: Linkage to BRCA2 region in hereditary male breast cancer. Lancet 346 (8974): 544-5, 1995.[PUBMED Abstract]

9. Burstein HJ, Harris JR, Morrow M: Malignant tumors of the breast. In: DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011, pp 1401-46.

10. Cutuli B, Lacroze M, Dilhuydy JM, et al.: Male breast cancer: results of the treatments and prognostic factors in 397 cases. Eur J Cancer 31A (12): 1960-4, 1995.[PUBMED Abstract]

11. Gattuso P, Reddy VB, Green L, et al.: Prognostic significance of DNA ploidy in male breast carcinoma. A retrospective analysis of 32 cases. Cancer 70 (4): 777-80, 1992.[PUBMED Abstract]

12. Giordano SH: A review of the diagnosis and management of male breast cancer. Oncologist 10 (7): 471-9, 2005.[PUBMED Abstract]

13. Ravandi-Kashani F, Hayes TG: Male breast cancer: a review of the literature. Eur J Cancer 34 (9): 1341-7, 1998.[PUBMED Abstract]

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