Treatment Options for Male Breast Cancer
Therapy given after an operation when cancer cells can no longer be seen is called adjuvant therapy. Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, the patient may be given radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy after surgery, to try to kill any cancer cells that may be left.
- Node-negative: For men whose cancer is node-negative (cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes), adjuvant therapy should be considered on the same basis as for a woman with breast cancer because there is no evidence that response to therapy is different for men and women.
- Node-positive: For men whose cancer is node-positive (cancer has spread to the lymph nodes), adjuvant therapy may include the following:
These treatments appear to increase survival in men as they do in women. The patient’s response to hormone therapy depends on whether there are hormone receptors (proteins) in the tumor. Most breast cancers in men have these receptors. Hormone therapy is usually recommended for male breast cancer patients, but it can have many side effects, including hot flashes and impotence (the inability to have an erection adequate for sexual intercourse).
- Orchiectomy (the removal of the testicles to decrease the amount of hormone made).
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist with or without total androgen blockade (to decrease the the amount of sex hormones made).
- Tamoxifen for cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive.
- Progestin (a female hormone made in a laboratory).
- Aromatase inhibitors (to decrease the amount of estrogen made).
Hormone therapies may be used in sequence (one after the other). Standard chemotherapy regimens may be used if hormone therapy does not work. Men usually respond to therapy in the same way as women who have breast cancer.