Breast cancer: ‘Important’ research uncovers risk factor for the development of a tumour

Julia Bradbury reflects on her breast cancer diagnosis

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The latest study by charity Breast Cancer Now has analysed data from 1,998 men over a 12-year period.

The research found infertile men were twice as likely to develop male breast cancer as men who were able to have children.

Dr Michael Jones described the results as “important” and said: “Our study suggests that infertile men may be twice as likely as those without fertility issues to develop breast cancer.”

Dr Jones continued to add: “The reasons behind this association are unclear, and there is a need to investigate the fundamental role of male fertility hormones on the risk of breast cancer in men.”

Breast Cancer Now’s Dr Simon Vincent added he hoped the knowledge gained would reach men “who might benefit from being aware of male breast cancer”.

Symptoms of breast cancer in men include:
• A lump in the breast
• The nipple turning inwards
• Fluid oozing from the nipple
• A sore or rash around the nipple that does not go away
• The nipple or surrounding skin becoming hard, red, or swollen
• Small bumps in the armpit.

The NHS says a man should see their GP if they have a lump in their breast, other worrying symptoms, or a history of breast cancer in family members of both genders.

In common with female breast cancer patients there are several treatments available to men.

These include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and medicines to stop the cancer growing.

Outlook for male breast cancer patients will depend on how far the tumour has spread.

Meanwhile, a new device used to detect breast cancer is being recommended for deployment on the NHS.

The Sentimag probe detects magnetised liquid known as Magtrace; this fluid is used to find cancers.

By tracking where this fluid moves, scientists can determine how far cancer has spread.

The recommendation comes from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and could help hospitals and patients in England and Wales.

Acting director for MedTech and digital at NICE, Jeanette Kusel said: “People with breast cancer want to know if their cancer has been isolated or has spread to the rest of their body.

“The earlier this is established, the better the potential outcomes will be.

“This technology is another option for surgeons who work in hospitals with limited or no access to radiopharmacy departments.

“The benefits include the potential for more procedures to take place, reducing the reliance on radioactive isotopes shipped into the country, and for less travel for people having a biopsy.”

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