For decades, efforts to find a cure and raise awareness about breast cancer have been literally colored pink. But breast cancer is not a health care concern exclusive to women.\nMany men who develop breast cancer miss or ignore the early warning signs, said Shannon Puhalla, MD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.\nLearn more about the breakthrough treatments for breast cancer at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.\u00a0\nFacts About Breast Cancer in Men\nDr. Puhalla covers the basics about male breast cancer and sets the record straight about misconceptions surrounding the disease.\nQ: How common is breast cancer in men?\nIt\u2019s pretty rare. About 0.5 to 1 percent of all breast cancers happen in men. That\u2019s about 2,000 cases a year in the United States.\nLiterature does suggest that the incidence in men is increasing. It\u2019s probably in part related to lifestyle. In particular, obesity and lack of exercise are emerging risk factors for male breast cancer, as well as female breast cancer.\nQ: What are some concerns around breast cancer in men?\nOne of the concerns with male breast cancer is that because men don\u2019t get screened with mammograms, it\u2019s not necessarily\u00a0on their radar.\nOften, men present with breast cancer at a more advanced stage. You are not picking up the cancer on mammograms early like you are in women when it\u2019s small. You\u2019re waiting until you can actually feel something.\nThe important public service message is: If a man does feel something in his breast tissue or on his chest wall, he needs to bring it to the attention of his physician.\nQ: Where does breast cancer usually develop in men?\nIt usually happens behind the nipple and feels like a lump or a hard marble. If it hurts, it can be cancer; if it doesn\u2019t hurt, it can be cancer. So, the presence or absence of pain doesn\u2019t definitively rule in or rule out cancer.\nWhen breast cancer spreads, it spreads to the lymph nodes located\u00a0in the armpit. Sometimes, men and women will actually feel the mass in the armpit instead of the breast.\nQ: What causes breast cancer among men?\nIt\u2019s relatively similar to the issues we see with female breast cancer, which is related to estrogen exposure.\nFor instance, men can have something called Klinefelter syndrome, which is a genetic abnormality, a chromosomal issue that changes estrogen levels in men and predisposes them to breast cancer.\nSome inherited gene mutations have been linked to breast cancer. These mutations can be passed to you from either parent and can affect the risk of cancers in both women and men, such as BRCA.\nQ: How exactly does obesity contribute to the risk of breast cancer among men?\nThere are now data that shows us that fat cells, in essence, can produce estrogen or lead to a high estrogen environment, which can then stimulate breast cancer cells to grow.\nQ: What are the treatments for men who develop breast cancer?\nMost men will have a mastectomy (removal of the breast tissue). Men can also have a lumpectomy, which is just removal of the lump itself. \u00a0That\u2019s the first step.\nThe second step is preventing recurrence of cancer. We can treat men with chemotherapy if they need chemotherapy, and also with hormonal treatment.\nQ: What are other challenges you face helping men battle breast cancer?\nWomen can usually find other women at work, or in their community, who have had breast cancer. For a man who has breast cancer, the only people he may know who have had breast cancer are women. I think there is a sense of isolation for men who have breast cancer.\nUPMC is part of a consortium that is trying to help to characterize male breast cancer by following patients over time. It\u2019s called the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium.\nIt\u2019s important that we participate\u00a0in that. We see about 1,300 new cases of breast cancer a year. About 1 percent of those are going to be men, and we see those men in our practice.\nFind more information by visiting the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center website\u00a0or check out our Medical Mondays segment on Breast Cancer.