For most men, the main treatment for early breast cancer is surgery to remove it. You may also have other treatments to reduce the risk of it coming back.

About treatment for breast cancer in men

Treatments for men with breast cancer are similar to those used to treat breast cancer in women.

Your doctors look at different factors to help decide which treatments are likely to work best for you. These include:

Your cancer doctor and specialist nurse will explain the treatments that they think are best for you. They can help you to make decisions about your treatment.

Early breast cancer

For most men, the main treatment for early breast cancer is surgery to remove it.

Most men only have a small amount of breast tissue. This means the operation usually involves taking away all the breast tissue and the nipple on the affected side. This is known as a simple mastectomy.

Rarely, it may be possible to remove only the cancer and some normal looking tissue around it (a margin). This is called breast-conserving surgery. It is usually only possible if there is enough breast tissue to get a margin.

Breast-conserving surgery is almost always followed by radiotherapy. This helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurring).

Treating the lymph nodes

Your surgeon may remove some or all the lymph nodes in your armpit. Some men may be offered radiotherapy to the lymph nodes instead of surgery.

Locally advanced breast cancer

If you have locally advanced breast cancer or inflammatory breast cancer you will usually be offered chemotherapy before surgery.

The chemotherapy helps to shrink the tumour. Sometimes targeted therapies are also used. This is known as neo-adjuvant treatment.

Adjuvant treatments

You may be offered other treatments after surgery to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. These treatments may include:

Radiotherapy

You may have radiotherapy to the chest wall. This is to get rid of any cancer cells that may have been left behind after surgery. Some men may also have radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the armpit or the lower part of the neck. 

Chemotherapy

Your cancer doctor may advise you to have chemotherapy if:

Targeted therapy

If you have HER2 positive breast cancer, you may be given a targeted therapy drug called trastuzumab (Herceptin®) and chemotherapy. 

Hormonal therapy

If the cancer is oestrogen-receptor positive, you will be given hormonal treatment for a few years. This usually starts after chemotherapy, if you are having it.

How we can help

Macmillan Grants

If you have cancer, you may be able to get a Macmillan Grant to help with the extra costs of cancer. Find out who can apply and how to access our grants.

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