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Breast cancer in men is on the rise

Less than 1% of breast cancer patients in Georgia and across the U.S. are men, but these men tend to be diagnosed later than women are and have lower survival rates. Breast cancer trials have not included men, but now the FDA is recommending their inclusion. This comes at a time when the number of male breast cancer patients is, in fact, rising.

In 2016, 1.21 per 100,000 men were diagnosed with breast cancer whereas in 1975, the rate was 0.85 per 100,000 men. In 2019, an estimated 2,670 men in the U.S. will develop the cancer. The lower survival rate holds even when researchers factor in variables like socioeconomic status and access to care.

Men and women receive different breast cancer treatments. Most women who are hormone-receptor positive, meaning they have tumors that grow in response to estrogen or progesterone, receive endocrine therapy. Now, 84.5% of male breast cancer patients are hormone-receptor positive, yet only 57.9% of them receive this therapy. At the same time, hormone therapies may affect men differently because the molecular pathways by which hormones are secreted can differ.

As for follow-up treatments, men may opt out of the 5- to 10-year regimen of tamoxifen that women normally undergo because of its side effects. These include hot flashes, mood swings and decreases in libido.

In some cases, cancer may be misdiagnosed, or patients may receive a delayed diagnosis. If these are the result of the doctor’s negligence, then victims may have a valid medical malpractice case on their hands. They may want to consult with a lawyer. The lawyer may request an inquiry with the local medical board and even have third parties conduct an independent investigation. Medical experts could help determine the amount that victims might receive in damages based on the stage of the cancer.