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A note on terms: 

Everyone has breast tissue and people of all genders can get breast cancer. To be clear and consistent, we use the word ‘breasts’ in our health information, rather than boobs, pecs or chest. When we say breasts, we mean the tissue from your rib cage up to your collarbone and armpits, including your nipples.

Can Men Get Breast Cancer?

Everyone has breast tissue – young, old, guys, gals and non-binary pals! Some of you might be surprised to know that around 400 men a year get breast cancer in the UK. Breast cancer in men is not common, but it can happen. If you are a man you should still be checking your chest. Most men who get breast cancer are over 60, but it does rarely occur in young men too.

The symptoms of breast cancer in men are very similar to the symptoms in women. The most common symptom is a lump in the chest area, which is usually painless. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the chest or under the arm.
  • A pulled-in (inverted) nipple.
  • Liquid (discharge) that comes from the nipple, that may be blood stained.
  • Sores (ulcers) on the chest.

If you are male and you notice changes to your chest, it is important that you contact your GP as soon as possible, to get it checked out.

Ollie’s story

“I wasn’t aware that breast cancer could affect all genders”

Ollie was 21 when, by chance, he found a lump.

Read Ollie's story

Gynaecomastia

Men can get swelling in their chest area that is not cancerous (benign), this is called gynaecomastia. Gynaecomastia is common, especially in teenage boys. 2 out of 3 teenage boys get gynaecomastia, but in 9 out of 10 cases it will get better by itself. You can read our information about gynaecomastia here.

Family History

Just like women, men with a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of getting breast cancer themselves. Some people have a gene mutation that runs in their family (genetic) and increases their risk of breast cancer. This gene mutation is called BRCA. About 10 in 100 cases of breast cancer in men is caused by the BRCA gene mutation. If you are a man who carries the BRCA gene mutation, your risk of getting breast cancer is still low. If you are worried you have the BRCA gene mutation, you should talk to your GP. We have more information about the BRCA gene here.

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This information was published in April 2021. It will be revised in April 2024.

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