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Anyone, male or female can get breast cancer, but generally, men are much less likely to develop the disease than women. All men who have breast cancer meet national guidelines for genetic counseling and testing.
Men who carry a BRCA mutation have a higher risk for breast cancer than men in the general population. However, the risk is still fairly low. Several small studies have determined the lifetime risk for breast cancer to be about 2% in men with BRCA1 mutations and about 8% in men with BRCA2 mutations. This is compared to a breast cancer risk in the general male population of about 0.1% (1 in 1000 men).
Some studies suggest that mutations in PALB2 gene also increase the risk of male breast cancer, but the exact risk in not known at this time.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends the following breast cancer surveillance for men with BRCA mutations:
Breast self exam education beginning at age 35
Annual clinical breast exam beginning at age 35
About 8% of men with breast cancer carry a BRCA mutation. This percentage is higher among male breast cancer patients who are of Jewish descent. Any man with breast cancer should consult with a genetics expert to determine if they would benefit from BRCA testing.