Male Breast Cancer - Risk factors

September 28, 2000

Risk factors

While what causes male breast cancer is unknown, doctors have isolated several risk factors:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Aging - The average age of men diagnosed with breast cancer is 65.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Family history - About 20 percent of men with breast cancer have a close family member - male or female - with the disease. Boonsboro resident Frederick Reeder, diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago, lost his mother to the disease.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Radiation exposure - Men who have been exposed to radiation in their chest area, such as treatment for Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, are at an increased risk.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Estrogen treatment - Taking high doses of estrogen as part of a sex- change operation increases risk.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Klinefelter's syndrome - A condition present at birth that affects 1 out of every 850 men, Klinefelter's syndrome results in men having an extra X sex chromosome.


Compared to other men, they have lower levels of androgens - male hormones - and more estrogens - female hormones.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Liver disease - The liver plays a role in sex hormone metabolism by producing binding proteins that carry hormones in the blood. Severe liver disease leads to men having comparatively low levels of androgen activity and higher estrogen levels.

- American Cancer Society

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