Breast cancer in men - Symptoms 

Symptoms of breast cancer in men 

The main symptom of breast cancer in men is a hard lump in one of your breasts. The lump is almost always painless.

The lump is usually located underneath the nipple and areola (the circle of dark coloured skin surrounding the nipple).

However, it is important to note that the vast majority of breast lumps are due to a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common, non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged.

Less common symptoms of male breast cancer usually affect the nipple. These can include:

  • the nipple begins to turn in on itself (nipple retraction)
  • the nipple becomes hard, inflamed, and looks sore (nipple ulceration)
  • fluid leaking from the nipple (nipple discharge)

Advanced symptoms

Additional symptoms usually only develop if the cancer spreads from your breast to other parts of the body, such as your bones, liver or lungs. This is known as metastatic breast cancer.

Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer include:

  • bone pain
  • swelling of the lymph nodes (glands), usually in or around the armpit
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling unusually tired all the time
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • itchy skin with jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

When to seek medical advice

You should always visit your GP if you notice a lump in your breast or if you have problems affecting your nipples, such as retraction, ulceration or discharge. 

These problems are unlikely to be of the result of breast cancer, but they should be investigated further.


Page last reviewed: 02/05/2013

Next review due: 02/05/2015

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