Background: Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare disease representing less than 1% of breast cancers. In the absence of a screening program, such as for females, the diagnostic workup is critical for early detection of MBC.
Objectives: To summarize our institutional experience in the workup of male patients referred for breast imaging, emphasizing the clinical, imaging, and histopathological characteristics of the MBC cohort.
Methods: All male patients who underwent breast imaging between 2011 and 2016 in our institution were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical, radiological, and histopathological data were collected and statistically evaluated. All images were reviewed using the American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System.
Results: 178 male patients (average age 61 years, median age 64), underwent breast imaging in our institution. The most common indication for referral was palpable mass (49%) followed by gynecomastia (16%). Imaging included mostly mammography or ultrasound. Biopsies were performed on 56 patients, 38 (68%) were benign and 18 (32%) were malignant. In all, 13 patients had primary breast cancer and 5 had metastatic disease to the breast. Palpable mass at presentation was strongly associated with malignancy (P = 0.007).
Conclusion: Mammography and ultrasound remain the leading modalities in breast imaging among males for diagnostic workup of palpable mass, with gynecomastia being the predominant diagnosis. However, presentation with palpable mass was also associated with malignancy. Despite a notable MBC rate in our cohort, the likelihood of cancer is low in young patients and in cases of gynecomastia.