Is Male Breast Cancer Treated the Same as Female Breast Cancer, and Does Gender Affect My Response to Treatment?

Question:Does male breast cancer have the same treatment options as female breast cancer and does gender affect my response to treatment?

Answer:Male breast cancer is treated somewhat differently than female breast cancer.

In female breast cancer, breast preservation is frequently a consideration so that many women want to go (with) a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy.

In men where breast preservation is not a significant issue, the standard breast surgery would be a mastectomy. That is to say removal of all breast tissue, along with the removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Now subsequent to that, what sort of therapy would be administered would depend a great deal upon the size of the patient's tumor, the lymph node status and the hormone receptor status of the tumor.

Let me go into each of those briefly. For men who have a fairly small breast cancer, mastectomy alone may be all that they need in terms of their therapy. If the patient has a somewhat larger tumor or has a tumor that involves lymph nodes, frequently doctors will recommend further therapy, following the completion of the initial surgery. That further therapy might involve the use of chemotherapy drugs, that's to say drugs given intravenously that kill dividing cancer cells, or the use of hormonal medications such as Tamoxifen, that in essence work to starve the breast cancer of growth hormones that it needs to grow.

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