Treatment Options for Men

Updated 
October 24, 2016

Most men will have mastectomy, which is surgeryinfo-icon to remove all of their breast tissueinfo-icon on the side of their chest where they have cancer. This is partly because they have less breast tissue than women, so asymmetry is less of a problem after mastectomyinfo-icon in men. Experts believe less than 14 percent of men have a lumpectomy, which is surgery to remove only the tumorinfo-icon and a margininfo-icon of tissue around it. Most men also have lymphinfo-icon nodes removed from under the arm to find out whether or not the cancer has spread out of the breast itself.

After surgery, you may have radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormonal therapy. Which combination of these your doctor recommends will depend on the subtype of the breast cancer, the stageinfo-icon of the cancer, and your risk of recurrenceinfo-icon. Men are more likely to get hormonal therapyinfo-icon than women because more men than women are diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. More than 90 percent of men will be offered either tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor as part of their treatment.

There is little research that is specifically about treating male breast cancerinfo-icon because most large breast cancer clinical trials enroll women. Today, more and more clinicalinfo-icon trials are accepting men with breast cancer to help close that gap in knowledge. Still, you can find comfort in knowing that male breast cancer seems to be well-managed by the therapies used for women with breast cancer.