New York: Breast cancer impacts men and women differently and men do not fare as well as female patients in survival rates, a new research shows.
The improvement in survival for men with breast cancer has not been as good as that observed for women, the findings say, underscoring the fact that though it is considered to be a rare disease, male breast cancer remains frequently lethal.
“This study aims to characterise the biology of this rare disease; only with this crucial knowledge will men with breast cancer be properly treated in the future, which will definitely improve both their survival and quality of life,” said Fatima Cardoso of Champalimaud Clinical Center in Lisbon, Portugal.
The study conducted in both Europe and in the US included 1,822 men treated for breast cancer between 1990 and 2010.
The researchers found that although the majority of male breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER) positive (99 percent as compared to roughly 70 percent in women), only 77 percent of male patients with this disease received hormonal therapy such as Tamoxifen.
Despite the fact that slightly over half of all male breast cancers are diagnosed when the tumours are very small, only four percent of male breast cancer patients received breast-conserving surgery.
The majority underwent mastectomies, a treatment decisions that can adversely affect quality of life, self-esteem and sexuality, the findings showed.
Currently, treatment strategies for men afflicted with this disease are based on those that have been used successfully for women, and research on the differences between men and women regarding the characteristics of this disease was sorely needed.
Of all cancers diagnosed in males, breast cancer accounts for less than one percent, and male breast cancer also accounts for less than one percent of all breast cancer diagnoses.
The findings were recently presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in the US.
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