The Mammo Minute: Who Can Get Breast Cancer?

Dr. Arthy Saravanan, Chief of the Breast Imaging Section at ARA, discusses who is at risk for getting breast cancer, including men. In each episode of this series, she will share important information about mammograms, breast health, and cancer prevention.

Hi. Welcome to the “Mammo Minute.” My name is Dr. Arthy Saravanan, and I’m the chief of the breast imaging section at Austin Radiological Association. Today’s topic is “Who can get breast cancer?” Let’s talk about breast tissue. Everyone has it. We’re all born with some amount of breast tissue, no matter what our birth gender is. So, men have breast tissue as well, and so do trans women and trans men who have not had all their breast tissue removed.

That means, essentially, everyone could possibly get breast cancer and some men do. But because they generally have a small amount of tissue and less estrogen compared to women, it’s pretty rare, but not unheard of. Now, what are the chances of getting breast cancer? One in eight women will get breast cancer during her lifetime. For men, that’s about one in 833.

And the treatment of breast cancer in men is about the same as the treatment of breast cancer in women. Most men who get breast cancer have no apparent risk factors. If you are a man with a family history of breast cancer or a known genetic mutation, you are at a higher risk and should pay attention to any lumps or changes in your breast tissue.

Estrogen is a major factor in developing breast cancer. Estrogen is a sex related hormone that is produced in all people, but far more in women at puberty and beyond. Consequently, anyone undergoing hormones therapy with estrogen may be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer, including menopausal women and trans women. So if you are a man, you do have a slight risk of breast cancer.

So make sure you speak to your doctor about your risk factors and getting your mammogram scheduled.

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