Breast cancer occurs mainly in women, but men can get it, too. Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer and can spread to other areas.
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.
Where breast cancer starts
Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers). Some start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers). Men have these ducts and glands, too, even though they aren't normally functional. There are also types of breast cancer that start in other types of breast cells, but these are less common.
Types of Breast Cancer in Men
Most breast cancers are carcinomas. In fact, breast cancers are often a type of carcinoma called adenocarcinoma, which starts in cells that make glands (glandular tissue). Breast adenocarcinoma start in the ducts (the milk ducts) or the lobules (milk-producing glands). Some of these types of cancer are:
Ductal carcinoma in situ
Lobular carcinoma in situ
Infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma
Infiltrating (or invasive) lobular carcinoma
Paget disease of the nipple
Inflammatory breast cancer
There are other, less common, types of breast cancers, too, such as sarcomas, phyllodes, Paget’s disease and angiosarcomas which start in the cells of the muscle, fat, or connective tissue.
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