Gynecomastia | Overview

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What is gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is a condition in which firm breast gland tissue forms in males. The breast tissue is usually less than 1-1/2 inches across and is located directly under the nipple. Gynecomastia may be present on one side or on both sides. This condition may make the breast tender.

Some men and boys have fat on their chests that makes it look like they have breasts. This condition is called pseudogynecomastia (false gynecomastia). It is not the same thing as gynecomastia.

Could the breast lump be cancer?

Probably not. Breast cancer is very rare in males. Lumps caused by cancer are usually not underneath the nipple--where breast tissue from gynecomastia grows. Breast cancer feels different than the breast tissue of gynecomastia. Breast cancer may also cause dimpling of the skin or a bloody discharge from the nipple. Your doctor will probably be able to tell whether your breast lump is cancer. If there is any question that you have cancer, you will need to have a mammogram and a biopsy.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00

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