Types of breast cancer in men

There are different types of breast cancer. Knowing the type of cancer you have helps the doctors plan your individual treatment.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

This is the earliest form of breast cancer. In DCIS, cancer cells are in the ducts of the breast, but not in any other breast tissue. A pathologist will look at a sample of the cells under a microscope to see what grade they are. High-grade DCIS may become invasive (spread outside the ducts) and is treated as a breast cancer. Other grades (intermediate and low) are different and doctors are unsure if these will become invasive, so will still treat them. DCIS is much less common in men than in women; less than 1 in 10 (10%) of breast cancers in men are DCIS.

We have more information about DCIS which has been written mainly for women. However much of it is still useful for men affected by breast cancer.

Invasive breast cancer

Most breast cancers in men are invasive. This means the cancer cells have spread outside the lining of the ducts and into surrounding breast tissue. There are different types of invasive breast cancer:

  • Invasive ductal breast cancer – Most invasive breast cancers in men are this type (80–90%).
  • Invasive lobular breast cancer – This cancer is rare in men because there are few, if any, lobules in men’s breasts.

Other rare types of breast cancer include:

For more information about any of these types of breast cancer, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00. Breast Cancer Care has more information about medullary and tubular breast cancer.

I still didn’t think it was cancer. I knew men could get breast cancer, but it never occurred to me for one moment that I’d got it.

Mike

Back to Understanding breast cancer in men

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

Men's breasts

Men have a small amount of breast tissue where breast cancer can develop, but this is rare.