Breast Problems in Men

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Although many people only associate breast problems with women, men can also be affected. If you have noticed changes in your breasts or nipples, follow this chart for more information.

SYMPTOMS DIAGNOSIS SELF-CARE
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1. Are you between the ages of 10 and 25, and do you have swelling under and/or around one or both nipples?


Yes

Hormone changes in puberty may cause GYNECOMASTIA, a benign (not cancerous) swelling of the male breast.

In most cases gynecomastia will go away on its own within 2 or 3 years. See your doctor if you're concerned, if breast tenderness is a problem or if the breast tissue keeps growing.

No

2. Are you taking any hormones or new medicines, and do you have swelling under and/or around one or both nipples?


Yes

Hormones and some types of medicine may cause GYNECOMASTIA, a benign (not cancerous) swelling of the male breast.

Discuss this with your doctor.

No

3. Is your nipple red, sore, cracked or blistered, and do you run or wear loose gym clothing?


Yes

You may have RUNNER'S NIPPLE, an irritation caused by clothes that rub against the skin.

Wear soft, loose clothes and use an antibiotic ointment and adhesive bandage strips on your nipples when you run. Petroleum jelly may work just as well. If a growth occurs, have it checked by your doctor.

No

4. Do you have a tender breast lump that feels like a soft grape?


Yes

You may have a cyst. Cysts are usually benign (not cancerous).

See your doctor. He or she will determine if you need any additional tests. If your cyst is painful, your doctor may use a small needle to drain fluid from it.

No

5. Do you have a painless lump that feels rubbery and is easily moveable within the breast tissue?


Yes

Although more common in women, FIBROADENOMAS, benign (not cancerous) lumps, may also occur in men.

Make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will determine if you need additional tests.

No

6. Do you have a hard, painless lump under your nipple, and have you noticed any breast changes such as skin dimpling or puckering, redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin, or have you had any nipple discharge?


Yes

This may be a sign of something serious, like CANCER.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY.

No

For more information, please talk to your doctor. If you think your problem is serious, call right away.

This tool has been reviewed by doctors and is for general educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. The information in this tool should not be relied upon to make decisions about your health. Always consult your family doctor with questions about your individual condition(s) and/or circumstances. Source: American Academy of Family Physicians. Family Health & Medical Guide. Dallas: Word Publishing; 1996.

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