If you haven't figured by now, it isn't something that's exclusive to women. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), men's breast tissues and cells can — indeed — develop cancer, even though they're not milk-producing breasts.

The NBCF reported that men are less likely to think a lump is cancerous — and thus, don't get it checked out. The foundation also stated that men rarely get inflammatory breast cancer like many women. Instead, for the most part, they end up with "infiltrating ductal carcinoma." Accordingly, this happens when duct cells encroach on surrounding tissues in the breast area.

Murray Calloway County Hospital's radiologist, Dr. Adam Lyles, noted that this particular cancer risk for men is one in 833. However, for women, it's one in eight — significantly higher. But since there's hardly any awareness regarding men's breast cancer, males typically have a higher mortality rate than women. The doctor mentioned that the yearly diagnoses in men were around 2,400 in 2005.

Now, Lyles said that in 2019 2,670 new cancer cases will have been diagnosed in men. And throughout the lifetimes of these cases, 500 men will die. Plus, since a mammogram isn't really on a male's to-do list, the doctor said men's breast cancer is generally detected during its latter stages.

Breast cancer symptoms in men

For the most part, signs and symptoms are quite similar to those in women.

Men could have lumps, swelling, or knots in the chest — typically around the nipple. The American Cancer Society stated that it's usually painless when occurring. Yet, Dr. Lyles mentioned that the mass could appear in a variety of ways: soft or hard, mobile or fixed. But in most cases, he said it's still around the nipple area.

Too, "skin dimpling" or "puckering" could happen, as well as the nipple turning inward. There could also be discharge from the nipple. The doctor stated that these are signs there could be a mass underneath the area. The cancer society mentioned that men's breast cancer can also spread under the arm and around the collar area, causing a lump or swelling in those regions.

This could happen before the breast tumor is actually detectable by touch.

Risk factors in a man's breast

According to the radiologist, age is the primary factor. He said it's usually found in men over 60 years old. However, family history is also a huge issue — as well as obesity, alcohol abuse, and liver disease. Yet, another risk factor in men is too much exposure to estrogen. Too, radiation exposure is a key factor, especially in older age. Dr. Lyles mentioned that — for instance, if men have gotten radiation treatment for "lymphoma" or something — those men's breast cancer risks increase for the future.

Men's breast: Getting checked for cancer

Since men's breast cancer conditions get worse with age, Dr.

Lyles mentioned staying on top of it and continually getting checked. He said men should evaluate their chests with just as much attention as their testicles for testicular cancer.

He noted that men will get mammograms like women and undergo similar processes — even possibly an ultrasound. If anything looks suspicious, males could get a biopsy as well. Adam stated that, as long as it hasn't metastasized to the lymph nodes, it's usually a successful detection and treatment.

"If it is found early, it can be successfully treated just as it is in women, and completely cured most of the time," the doctor told Murray Ledger & Times.