When we look at the term “B-reast cancer” we often think of it only as a female condition. In reality, b-reast cancer can affect anyone, i.e. males also have a likelihood of developing b-reast cancer. There may be differences as well as similarities in the risk factors and causes of b-reast cancer among both genders. It has been reported that the risk of b-reast cancer in both genders can be attributed to genetic mutations as well as the production of estrogen hormone.
If the signs and symptoms of b-reast cancer are learned as well as its causes and risk factors, the person can take preventive measures to lessen the chances of developing b-reast cancer. This blog focuses on the differences between male and female b-reast cancer.
Why are females more at risk of developing b-reast cancer than males?
There are two reasons behind only a few populations of males get affected with b-reast cancer:
B-reast anatomy and development: Although the outward appearance of b-reasts in men and women varies their inner structure remains the same. In both genders, the b-reasts have nipples, ducts, b-reast cells, and fatty tissues. But the male b-reast tissue is chiefly fatty and fibrous (i.e. have stroma) with fewer ducts and lobules and the mature women possess developed working lobules and ducts for milk production and supply after childbirth. Moreover, the males have low-tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (i.e. WBCs that have moved into a tumor from the bloodstream) levels as compared to females. Thus, mostly the uncontrolled cell proliferation begins in the milk ducts and lobules of women. The females have HER2-positive and triple-negative (including estrogen-receptor-negative, HER2-negative, and progesterone-receptor-negative) subtypes of b-reast cancer while most males have an estrogen-receptor-positive subtype.
Levels of estrogen hormone: The b-reast cells grow and divide normally as a response to the hormone estrogen. Its level is found to be more in females as compared to males. Hence, the b-reast cells of women are highly receptive and active to estrogen which increases their risk of b-reast cancer. If the levels of estrogen happen to be high in males, they are likely to develop gynecomastia condition.
What are the varied risk factors of b-reast cancer in both genders?
Male-specific risk factors:
- Genetic mutations: It includes the mutations in genes PALB2, CHEK2, and PTEN.
- Klinefelter syndrome: It is an inherited disorder wherein an extra X chromosome is present in males and the estrogen levels are high. This syndrome can cause the growth of male b-reast tissues and increase the risk of developing b-reast cancer.
- Conditions of testicles: The males may possess undescended testicles, one or more testicles removed surgically, or mumps as adults which can result in reduced testicle size. These conditions cause testicular dysfunction and lead to androgen deficiency, thereby increasing the chances of developing b-reast cancer in males.
- Obesity: This is associated with high estrogen levels which in turn increase the chances of b-reast cancer.
- Liver disease: In liver cirrhosis, testosterone levels (male sex hormone) decline whereas estrogen (female sex hormone) level rises.
- Older age: Most men who have crossed 60 years of their life possess the risk of developing b-reast cancer.
- Family history: When any other family member has got b-reast cancer.
Female-specific risk factors:
- Reproductive factors: When females give birth to children at a very old age or do not give birth at all.
- Menstrual factors: If the women start her menstruation before the age of 12 and have menopause after the age of 55.
- Dense b-reast tissue: Females have denser b-reast tissue which makes it difficult to detect abnormal lumps in the b-reast. If these lumps are not diagnosed early, they may develop into b-reast cancer.
It is recommended to get an initial diagnosis for breas-t cancer screening to avoid the risk of life-threatening concerns.