Causes of breast cancer in males

Causes of breast cancer in males

The causes of breast cancer in males are still unclear. Cancer usually affects males in their old age. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the chances of recovery improve many folds. Early treatment involves surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. However, based on the severity, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy might be recommended to completely get rid of the cancer cells.

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that rarely manifests in males. However, breast cancer is a form of the disease which mainly affects women but is reported to affect around 1 percent of men. The risk factors of breast cancer are pretty well established in the healthcare domain.

With collected results from previously reported data of breast cancer in males, there are a few changes identified in the affected male that could act as probable causes of breast cancer in males.

Some changes that could be the causes of breast cancer in males.

Hormone level changes

Throughout human life, cells and their functionality are directly influenced by hormone levels. Two hormones, named estrogen and progesterone, are linked to the development of breast cancer. Especially, estrogen influences the growth of breast tissue. The hormone is found in higher levels in females and has very low levels in males. Males on estrogen therapy or have unnecessarily elevated levels of estrogen can develop breast cancer. Moreover, males suffering from gynecomastia, infertility, and erectile dysfunction have more chances than others.

As the estrogen increases the cell division rate, there are chances that the DNA information might not be fully copied, leading to cancer. Hormonal changes, especially in men, is one of the most important causes of breast cancer in males. Hormonal levels can be easily checked by visiting your healthcare provider that will draw a small amount of blood and analyze it to get results. There are various treatments available that are recommended when hormone levels are not up to par.

Gene changes

Genetic mutations or gene changes hold a special place in the list of causes of breast cancer in males because the outcomes depend on genes. Almost all cells have genetic information stored containing the relevant instructions on how everything within the cells will function. Researchers have made great leaps forward in understanding how genes cause cells to become cancerous. Various types of genes control different functions of the body. Out of them all, oncogenes are responsible for speeding up cell division, and tumor suppressor genes can slow down the cell division. Cancer occurs when either the oncogenes or the tumor suppressor genes become defective.

The genetic causes of breast cancer in males can be divided into inherited gene mutations and acquired gene mutations.

Acquired gene mutations

These mutations occur during a person’s lifetime. There is also confusion about why these mutations occur in the first place. Excessive radiation exposure has been linked with the development of breast cancer in some male cases. Environmental chemicals, irritants, and an unhealthy diet are also probable causes of acquired gene mutations.

Inherited gene mutations

Changes in the genes can be passed down from the parents to the offspring. These genetic mutations run through the affected families and are responsible for the development of cancer. Tumor suppressor genes named BRCA1 and BRCA2 have been shown to trigger the breast cells to turn cancerous. Naturally, these genes produce certain proteins that prevent the cells from growing exponentially. However, in the case of a defective inherited gene, chances of developing breast cancer, especially at old age, become much higher. Moreover, the risk of developing other cancer types like prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer is also increased.

Knowing about the causes of breast cancer in males is not enough. Various risk factors can trigger the development of breast cancer in males.

The risk factors of breast cancer in men.

Old age.

The chances of developing breast cancer as well as other medical conditions, especially in old age, are increased. The average age at which breast cancer occurs in men is around 60 years. Getting old cannot be stopped; still, by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping a tab on your health status, such diseases can be avoided altogether.

Klinefelter’s syndrome.

In this syndrome, male infants are born with more than one copy of X chromosomes that causes abnormal testicle development and, in severe cases, results in infertility. Klinefelter’s syndrome is a congenital anomaly that also affects the hormone levels. The male hormones (androgens) are underproduced, while female hormones are overproduced. Genetic testing can help detect most of the genetic mutations and congenital anomalies to better manage the condition.

Liver disease.

Cirrhosis of the liver in men also decreases androgens and increases the production of estrogen. Having a liver disease might not be one of the causes of breast cancer. Yet, it is an important risk factor that is usually ignored.


Being overweight increases not only the risk of cardiovascular diseases but also increases the production of female hormones.

Male reproductive system diseases.

Various diseases affect the testicles. Inflammation of testicles (orchitis) or testicle removal (orchiectomy) reduces the levels of male hormones.

If you ever feel concerned about breast cancer, don’t hesitate and discuss with your healthcare provider how to monitor health. Besides, knowledge of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is also necessary.

The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in males include:

  • Lump formation within the breast tissue.
  • Swelling on the nipple area.
  • Breast skin thickening.
  • The skin turns flaky, red, and dry.
  • Nipple changes like, for example, the inward turning of the nipple.

Mammography and other diagnostic procedures like ultrasonography and CT scan also help further confirm breast cancer. It might take a bit of time for the healthcare domain to establish the exact causes of breast cancer in males. Till then, keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms you might notice in the breast. Cancer is a disease that can be treated when detected early. The easiest way to avoid chronic diseases is to eat healthy foods, maintain a daily exercise routine, and never skip your health checkups to keep a tab on your health status

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