Risks Factors for Developing MBC

Approximately 2350 men in the US, 200 men in Canada, 400 men in Australia and 125 men in the UK are diagnosed annually with male breast cancer (MBC) annually, which accounts for  approximately 1% of all reported breast cancer cases, globally.  In other words, men have a one tenth of one percent or a 1 in 1000 chance of developing MBC.

Medial oncology continues to progress, but more studies must be performed and the data analyzed in order to fully comprehend the development of breast cancer, especially in men.  Men share some of the same risk factors, methods of treatment and prognosis for the same types and stages of breast cancer tumors that are found in women.  However, men have a tendency to be reluctant to seek medical advice and discuss medical issues, leading more often to a much later diagnosis and therefore, advanced stage of breast cancer in men than in women.  Consequently, the overall prognosis for men diagnosed with breast cancer is therefore not as good as for women.

Risk factors include anything that can increase a person’s chance for developing breast cancer.  However, risk factors alone do not determine if someone will develop breast cancer.  Men can have one or more risk factors and yet never develop the disease whilst others develop breast cancer without demonstrating any of the known risk factors.

The correlation between the risk factors and the development of MBC still remains unclear.  Risk factors such as a person’s age, gender, and race do not change throughout the course of a lifetime.  Other risk factors are affected by a person’s exposure to environmental carcinogens and lifestyle choices.  Smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, and lack of physical activity can influence and increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Klinefelter’s Syndrome

Most prominent risk factor.  A rare medical condition found in men with a genetic inheritance of an additional X chromosome, XXY.  Klinefelter’s patients have lower levels of testosterone and increased levels of estrogen.  Patient’s who suffer from Klinefelter’s Syndrome  have a 14-50 times higher risk in developing male breast cancer.

Family History

Men that have multiple female relatives diagnosed with breast cancer are at a higher risk.  Men that carry the BRCA2 gene mutation have a 6.3% increased risk of developing MBC before the age of 70.  Men are usually diagnosed with MBC between 60-70 years, which is approximately 10 years later than women.  The average age for male breast cancer is 61 years.

Radiation Exposure

Men exposed to high levels of radiation and patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treated with chest wall radiation have a higher risk of developing male breast cancer.


Gynecomastia is a disease found in men that is characterized by prominent breast tissue, resulting from increased levels of estrogen.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Men that suffer from chronic alcoholism and/or chronic viral Hepatitis have a higher risk of developing MBC.

Testicular Diseases

Men who suffer from undescended testicles (Cryptochordism), inflammation of the testis (Orchitis) and/or testicular injury may increase the risk of developing male breast cancer.


Because obesity is associated with an increase in estrogen level in men, they have a higher risk of developing male breast cancer.