FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer in men is much less common than it is in women, but it may be more deadly, new research suggests.
"Men with breast cancer don't do as well as women with breast cancer, and there are opportunities to improve that," said study author Dr. Jon Greif, a breast surgeon in San Francisco. "They were less likely to get the standard treatments that women get."
Survival rates for men with breast cancer, overall, are lower than those for women, at least when it is diagnosed in the early stages, Greif found. The cancers differ in other respects too.
Greif was scheduled to present his findings Friday at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting in Phoenix.
Greif and his team warn, however, that some of the differences they found may not bear out in clinical practice.
A big limitation to the research: The database they drew from keeps track of which breast cancer patients die, but not what they died from. So it is impossible to tell if they died from their cancer or something else, he explained.
Although many men may not be aware that they can get breast cancer, nearly 2,200 new cases of male breast cancer are expected this year, according to the American Cancer Society. The society estimates 410 men will die of breast cancer in 2012 in the United States.
Greif compared about 13,000 men with breast cancer, identified from the National Cancer Data Base, to more than 1.4 million women with breast cancer. The data covered 1998 to 2007.
The investigators evaluated cancer characteristics and survival rates, taking into account age, ethnicity and other factors.
Men with breast cancer were more likely to be black than women with breast cancer (11.7 percent versus 9.9 percent) and less likely to be Hispanic (3.6 percent versus 4.5 percent), the researchers found.
In addition, men were older at d
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