One in 40 men and women of Ashkenazi (Central or Eastern European) Jewish descent carries a BRCA gene mutation, more than 10 times the rate of the general population, making Jewish families significantly more susceptible to hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Men who carry a BRCA mutation have a 50% chance of passing that alteration on to each of their sons and daughters.
For men of all backgrounds, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Men need to know that breast cancer is not limited to only women. Possible symptoms of breast cancer to watch for include:
A lump or swelling, which is usually (but not always) painless
Skin dimpling or puckering
Nipple retraction (turning inward)
Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
Discharge from the nipple
Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. These changes aren’t always caused by cancer. For example, most breast lumps in men are caused by gynecomastia (a harmless enlargement of breast tissue). Still, if you notice any breast changes, you should see a health care professional as soon as possible.