Breast cancer is often thought of as a disease that affects only women, but men can develop breast cancer, too. Our Male Breast Cancer Program is dedicated to the unique needs of men. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that supports your medical and emotional needs.
A cancer diagnosis of any kind can be a traumatic experience. For the roughly 2,000 American men who are found to have breast cancer in the United States annually, the diagnosis can be especially shocking. Our team of breast cancer specialists at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer (DF/BWCC) is focused on providing the care and support that men with breast cancer need at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, and later as survivors. We offer cutting edge oncologic care, as well as emotional and psychosocial support services and coordination of care with other providers.
In addition to treating men with breast cancer, our physician-researchers are also involved in cutting-edge research focused on male breast cancer. Because this disease is rarer in men than in women, more research is needed to learn about causes of breast cancer, optimal treatments, and side effects of these treatments in men. Our ongoing research will be key to advancing our understanding of male breast cancer, and to developing the best therapies.
Find out more about male breast cancer diagnosis and treatment
Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH, leads a Male Breast Cancer Program team that includes distinguished breast cancer surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists with specific expertise in treating male breast cancer. Our team approach means that you may meet with several specialists on your first visit. Your team will evaluate and plan your treatment, and coordinate your care.
Through this coordinated approach, your entire clinical team will work with you to explore every option to effectively treat your breast cancer, and to support you every step of the way.
Our specialists work within Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center's Breast Oncology Center, bringing together some of the world's leading breast cancer experts. Your care team may include: medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists; pathologists; radiologists; pharmacists; oncology nurses; social workers; nutritionists; and genetic counselors.
Because early detection is so important in breast cancer, men need to know that this disease can affect them too. Symptoms that men should watch for are similar to symptoms of women’s breast cancer. They include:
If a man notices any of these symptoms, he should consult with a doctor.
The most common type of breast cancer in men is invasive ductal carcinoma. Other less common types include ductal carcinoma in situ (a non-invasive form), inflammatory breast cancer, and Paget’s disease of the nipple.
For the most part, treatment for male breast cancer is similar to treatment for women with breast cancer. This can include chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, radiation, and surgery. Because most breast cancers in men are hormonally sensitive (in other words, the estrogen and/or progesterone receptor are expressed on the tumor cells), drugs like tamoxifen (a blocker of the estrogen receptor) are very commonly prescribed to men. More research is needed to study whether men would benefit from other therapies that are more targeted to male breast cancer specifically.
The prognosis for men with breast cancer is generally similar to that of women diagnosed at a similar stage. As with most cancers, the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chance of cure. Current treatments are highly effective for most men, and new breast cancer therapies are being developed all the time.
If you have never been seen before at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, please call 877-442-3324 or use this online form to make an appointment.
Referring physicians: Call 877-441-DFCI (441-3324) or complete the online referral form.
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