One of the most common misconceptions that patients have about gynecomastia is that it leads to breast cancer. However, it’s good to know that the connection between men who have gynecomastia and men who have breast cancer is virtually non-existent. One of the reasons why people get gynecomastia and male breast cancer confused with each other is that they sometimes have similar symptoms. So, how can you tell the difference between gynecomastia and male breast cancer?
Look At the Symmetry
One of the biggest differentiating factors between a male with breast cancer and a male with gynecomastia is symmetry. For instance, men who have gynecomastia almost always exhibit swelling in both of their breasts. Whereas men who have breast cancer, typically only find a lump or swelling in one of their breasts. However, with all things, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Look At Your Family History
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, if your mother had breast cancer and you inherited her defective gene, you are 40% to 80% more likely to develop breast cancer. If your mother has or had breast cancer or if you have a family history of this disease, you can get genetic testing done to see if you also inherited this gene.
Gynecomastia, on the other hand, may or may not be genetic. Studies point to the fact that this condition is primarily caused by hormonal changes in the body— some of which may be genetic but most of which are not.
Look at Your Past Habits
Do you have a past involving the use of steroids for bodybuilding? If so, you may be at a higher risk of developing gynecomastia. The increased amounts of hormones in certain steroids can contribute to the growth of breast tissue in many male users.
If you want to learn more about the differences between gynecomastia and male breast cancer, contact Dr. Rick Silverman today! Call our Newton office at (617) 965-9500 or our Brighton office at (800) 785-7860.