Male and Female Breast Cancers Are Not Identical

Results of the EORTC10085/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG International Male Breast Cancer Program conducted in both Europe and in the United States and presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium December 9-13, 2014. found significant improvement in survival for men with breast cancer, but this improvement was not as good as that observed for women. The study, which included 1822 men treated for breast cancer between 1990 and 2010, provides much needed information about the clinical and biological characteristics of male breast cancer. Dr. Fatima Cardoso of the Champalimaud Clinical Center in Lisbon, Portugal, and coordinator of this study says, "This study aims to characterize 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." 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. There are, however, African countries reporting a high incidence of male breast cancer, and these include Uganda, 5%, and Zambia, 15%. Nevertheless, even though it is considered a rare disease, male breast cancer remains frequently lethal. In 2013 estimates indicated just 2,240 new cases of male breast cancer in the United States yet, alarmingly, 410 deaths. Today, male breast cancer is not well understood, and the best way to treat this disease is not yet known. Currently, treatment strategies for men afflicted with this disease are based on those treatmemts that have been used successfully for women, and research on the differences between men and women regarding the characteristics of this disease has been sorely needed.
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