Doctors, men need to pay attention to breast cancer warning signs

Every year, about 232,000 women in Illinois and throughout the U.S. are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Many women understand that they may be at risk of developing breast cancer, and they may be aware of what signs to look out for so that they can see their doctors immediately to determine whether they do have breast cancer. Although some types of breast cancer are fatal, many women do survive breast cancer when they are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

But doctors and patients need to realize that men get breast cancer, too. Unfortunately, because many men don’t think that breast cancer is something that they will develop, many men ignore or don’t recognize warning signs until it is too late. In some cases, men who do see their doctors for concerning symptoms may end up being misdiagnosed with a different illness since breast cancer among men is so rare. In fact, only about 2,240 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year.

One man who put off going to the doctor after noticing a lump in his breast is now undergoing an intense treatment. The man waited several months to finally go see his doctor. His doctor ordered a biopsy and the biopsy confirmed that he had breast cancer. Had the man gone to see his doctor sooner, he may have been able to avoid having to undergo such an intense treatment. The man is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments. After chemo, he will have to undergo a modified radical mastectomy. After the mastectomy, he will need to receive radiation treatments, and after radiation he will be put on tamoxifen for about five years.

Symptoms of breast cancer are usually not difficult to detect in men when men and their doctors do consider the possibility of breast cancer. Usually any change in the breast or discharge from the nipple indicates that something is not right and needs to be looked at. In order to properly rule out or rule in breast cancer for men, doctors will need to order biopsies and perform other medical tests. Failing to order a biopsy when a patient is showing signs of cancer could be detrimental to a patient’s health and deprive a patient of life-saving treatment.

Source: The Washington Post, “Because male breast cancer is rare, many cases aren’t caught till later stages,” Laura Hambleton, February 25, 2013

  • Our Chicago firm provides counsel to patients and families who have been harmed by misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and wrong diagnosis errors. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our firm’s web page regarding breast cancer misdiagnosis errors.

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Doctors, men need to pay attention to breast cancer warning signs