According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer in men is much less common than it is in women. But new research reported in the Health Day News suggests it may be more deadly for men.
The author of the study, Dr. Jon Greif, a San Francisco breast surgeon, compared about 13,000 men with breast cancer, identified from the National Cancer Data Base, to more than 1.4 million women with breast cancer.
The data covered 1998 to 2007.
Greif found survival rates for men with breast cancer, overall, are lower than those for women, at least when it is diagnosed in the early stages. The investigators evaluated cancer characteristics and survival rates, taking into account age, ethnicity and other factors.
The study found that men's tumors were larger when diagnosed. It also found men with breast cancer were less likely to get a partial mastectomy and to receive radiation.
Greif and his team warn, however, that some of the differences they found may not bear out in clinical practice.
Dr. Susan Boolbol, chief of the division of breast surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City says the lack of information on the cause of death is a major limitation of the finding. Greif says more awareness of male breast cancer is crucial.
The American Cancer Society says breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. The Society estimates 410 men will die of breast cancer in 2012 in the United States.
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