Myth: Only women can get breast cancer.
Do men get breast cancer?
Although rare, men can get breast cancer too. Breast cancer starts in breast tissue and men have breast tissue just like women, whether you can see it or not. In general, their breasts are less developed and therefore breast cancer in men makes up less than 1% of all breast cancers.
From the beginning of the breast cancer movement, it has been depicted as a women-only disease. Coverage by the media and many breast cancer organizations tend to only feature women in their images. However, this doesn’t mean the disease only affects women. It is estimated that, in 2017, there will be 230 new cases of breast cancer in Canadian men. The statistics are a bit higher for American men, with an estimation of 2,470 new cases of breast cancer in 2017. Still, these numbers are very low compared to their female counterparts (estimated 252,710 new cases in American women and 26,300 new cases in Canadian women).
The difference in risk levels between men and women is because men’s breast cells are not constantly exposed to the female hormone estrogen, which is an established risk factor in the development of many forms of breast cancer.