This article highlights current problems related to breast cancer management in men. Main topics covered are: genetic predisposition to breast cancer in men, treatment approaches and comments regarding patients’ experience.
Although only about 1% of breast cancers occur in men, the reality of the disease is unquestionable. Risk factors include genetic predisposition, especially the BRCA2 gene mutation. Since this mutation is also found in women who develop the disease, a man who has relatives (male or female) with breast cancer has a higher risk. Overall, men carrying the BRCA2 mutation have an 8% risk of developing breast cancer. The mutation also predisposes to early and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Careful follow-up is recommended if this anomaly is discovered.
Treatment options for breast cancer in men are generally the same as for women. However, due to potentially worse side-effects of some drugs, such as Tamoxifen, medications need to take into account the patients’ gender. A class of drugs called PARP inhibitors, currently evaluated for the treatment of BRCA-associated breast cancers in women, show promise for men as well.
Breast cancer is a difficult experience for many men. Most report a feeling of isolation and embarrassment since the medical service is geared towards women. Being a patient minority, they are sometimes excluded from clinical trials and have difficulty finding support groups.
Despite not being a research paper, this article draws attention to important aspects related to breast cancer in men.
Published By :
Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI)
Mar 05, 2012
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