Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Breast Cancer in Males Evaluation

The evaluation of breast cancer in males begins with a medical history and physical examination.

Physical findings of breast cancer in males may include:

  • New breast lump
  • Changes in breast shape or size
  • Dimpling in the skin of the breast
  • New lump in the armpit that does not go away
  • Nipple discharge from one breast
  • Orange-peel color of the skin overlying the breast
  • Retracted (pointing inward) nipple or changes in the nipple

Testing is required to evaluate breast cancer in males.

Tests that may be used to evaluate breast cancer in males include:

Breast Cancer in Males Staging

The staging of breast cancer in males is the same as in women, from Stage 0 to Stage 4. The stage is based on the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to lymph glands or other parts of the body.

Breast cancer stages:

Breast Cancer in Males Recurrent

Recurrent breast cancer grows again after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the breast, chest wall, or other parts of the body.

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 0

Stage 0 disease is also referred to as carcinoma in situ.

There are two forms:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: a pre-cancerous condition in which the abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct. The abnormal cells have not spread outside the duct to other tissues of the breast.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ: a less commonly pre-cancerous condition in which the abnormal cells are found in the lobules of the breast. This condition can increase the risk of developing breast cancer in either breast.

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 1

The tumor is less than 2 centimeters and has not spread outside of the breast.

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 2a

Any one of the following qualifies as stage 2A disease:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in the axillary lymph nodes, under the arm
  • Breast tumor is no larger than 2 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes
  • Breast tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters, but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 2b

Any one of the following qualifies as stage 2B disease:

  • Breast tumor is larger than 5 centimeters, but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes
  • Breast tumor is between 2 and 5 centimeters and spread to the axillary lymph nodes

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 3a

Any one of the following qualifies:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is found in the lymph nodes under the arm, which are attached to each other or to other structures
  • Breast tumor is no larger than 5 centimeters and is found in the lymph nodes under the arm, which are attached to each other or to other structures
  • Breast tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and is found in the lymph nodes under the arm, which are attached to each other or to other structures

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 3b

Cancer may be any size and must have both of the following:

  • Breast cancer has spread to tissues near the breast such as the chest wall, ribs, or muscles of the chest
  • Breast cancer may have spread to lymph nodes within the breast or under the arm

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 3c

Stage 3C cancers have both of the following characteristics:

  • Cancer has spread to lymph nodes beneath the collarbone and near the neck
  • Cancer may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm and to tissues near the breast

Stage 3C cancers are further divided into the following two groups:
  • Stage 3C operable Any one of the following qualifies as being 3C operable:
    • Cancer is found in 10 or more lymph nodes under the arm.
    • Cancer is found in the lymph nodes beneath the collarbone and near the neck on the same side of the body as the breast with the cancer.
    • Cancer is found in lymph nodes within the breast itself and in lymph nodes under the arm.
  • Stage 3C inoperable In this stage, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone and near the neck on the same side of the body as the breast with cancer.

Breast Cancer in Males Stage 4

In this stage, cancer has spread to other organs of the body such as the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

Continue to Breast Cancer in Males Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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