Early-Stage Breast Cancer More Deadly in Men Than Women

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Breast cancer is rare in men, but it does happen. According to a study, men diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are more likely to die from the cancer than women diagnosed with early-stage disease. Men with early-stage disease survived about 6 years, while women survived about 15 years. (For people with advanced breast cancer at diagnosis, men and women had the same survival times.)

There are a number of possible reasons for the difference in survival, including:

  • Genetic or biological differences between the breast cancers in men and the breast cancers in women. This means that male breast cancers may develop, grow, and spread differently than female breast cancer. Breast cancer in men also may respond differently to treatment than breast cancer in women.
  • Differences in when breast cancer is diagnosed. Diagnosing early breast cancer in men may take longer compared to diagnosis in women.
  • Treatment needs. Because breast cancer is rare in men, it's hard to study the best way to treat it. Most male breast cancer treatments are modeled on treatments for women. A different approach may be needed.

To learn more about breast cancer in men, visit the breastcancer.org Male Breast Cancer section.

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