TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that the few men who develop breast cancer tend to have more advanced cases than women and to be diagnosed at an older age.
But when statistics are adjusted for factors such as age, men with breast cancer are less likely to die from the disease than women are.
The findings shed light on a rare disease in men, one that researchers had earlier assumed was deadlier for males.
"Men can develop it and should be aware that they should seek care if a breast lump develops," said study co-author Dr. Mikael Hartman, an assistant professor at National University of Singapore.
About 2,140 men in the United States will develop breast cancer this year, according to an estimate from the American Cancer Society (ACS), and about 450 men will die from it. The ACS estimates that the lifetime risk that a man will develop breast cancer is one in 1,000, although the likelihood skyrockets to 5 percent to 10 percent if a man has a mutation in a gene known as BRCA2, noted Dr. Mahmoud El-Tamer, an attending surgeon at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who studies male breast cancer.
The same mutation greatly boosts the risk of breast cancer in women.
It's not clear why breast cancer is much less common in men. Women, of course, have much more breast tissue. But volume doesn't appear to affect the risk of breast cancer in women, since those with large breasts don't develop the disease more than those with small breasts, El-Tamer said.
Estrogen could be key, study co-author Hartman said, since it seems to fuel breast cancer and is almost entirely absent in men.
In the new study, which appears online Oct. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers analyzed statistics on breast cancer in both sexes in Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore and Sweden over the past 40 years. The researchers fo
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