Many Illinois residents likely believe that breast cancer only affects women. However, this is not the case. Although it is extremely rare, men can develop breast cancer. Those who are most at risk for male breast cancer are between the ages of 60 and 70 and who have a family history of breast cancer. An estimated 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. every year.
The symptoms for breast cancer in men are the same as the symptoms for breast cancer in women. They can include nipple discharge, an unusual mass in the breast tissue and changes in the skin. Like many breast cancer cases in women, the disease may go undetected in men until the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body by the time a diagnosis is made.
There are no early-screening measures for men when it comes to testing for breast cancer. Mammograms are not regularly used for screening for men because it is not a cost-effective method. Further, men have an easier time detecting lumps as they normally have a smaller amount of breast tissue than women. However, those who are diagnosed with breast cancer often have a poor prognosis as it is often detected after it has already spread.
The failure to diagnose breast cancer in both men and women in a timely manner could result in a poor prognosis for patients. Once the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, more aggressive treatment is needed. A medical malpractice attorney may be of assistance if the doctor failed to order the proper diagnostic tests based on the patient's symptoms. The attorney may help a patient or the patient's family seek compensation for the harm that was caused by the delayed diagnosis.