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Epidemiology of male breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, A-320 Carlton House, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


Breast cancer in men is a rare disease, accounting for approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases. Although the epidemiologic literature regarding female breast cancer is extensive, relatively little is known about the etiology of male breast cancer (MBC). This review is intended to summarize the existing body of evidence on genetic and epidemiologic risk factors for breast cancer in men. Overall, the epidemiology of MBC presents similarities with the epidemiology of female breast cancer. Major genetic factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer for men include BRCA2 mutations, which are believed to account for the majority of inherited breast cancer in men, Klinefelter syndrome, and a positive family history. Suspected genetic factors include AR gene mutations, CYP17 polymorphism, Cowden syndrome, and CHEK2. Epidemiologic risk factors for MBC include disorders relating to hormonal imbalances, such as obesity, testicular disorders (e.g., cryptorchidism, mumps orchitis, and orchiectomy), and radiation exposure. Suspected epidemiologic risk factors include prostate cancer,prostate cancer treatment, gynecomastia, occupational exposures (e.g., electromagnetic fields, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and high temperatures), dietary factors (e.g., meat intake and fruit and vegetable consumption), and alcohol intake.

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