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Breast cancer (male)

Find out about the tests used to diagnose breast cancer in men, including ultrasound scans, mammograms and a biopsy.

See your GP if you have symptoms of breast cancer. They will examine you and ask about your symptoms.

Your GP can refer you to a specialist breast clinic for the following scans and tests if needed.

Ultrasound scan

An ultrasound scan of your breast may be carried out to look for a lump in your breast and see it it's solid or filled with fluid. A solid lump is more likely to be cancerous.

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your breasts.

You'll need to remove your top for the test, which involves a small device being moved over your chest to create an image on a screen.

Breast X-ray (mammogram)

Sometimes an X-ray of your breast, called a mammogram, may be carried out to look for any lumps or unusual areas.

But these aren't done very often these days because they can be uncomfortable (your chest will be firmly pressed against a special plate while the scan is taken) and they don't usually show much more than an ultrasound scan does.

Biopsy

If a lump or unusual area is found in your breast, a biopsy will be carried out to check if it's cancer.

This is where a small piece of breast tissue is removed using a needle. Local anaesthetic is used to numb your skin so the needle doesn't hurt.

The piece of tissue will be checked in a laboratory to see if it contains any cancer cells and to find out more about the cells (such as whether hormone treatment might work).

Coping with a diagnosis

Being told you have breast cancer can cause a wide range of emotions, such as shock, fear, confusion and, in some cases, embarrassment.

Feelings of isolation are also common. This may be because there's little in the way of information and advice for men with breast cancer.

Speak to your GP or care team if you're struggling to come to terms with your diagnosis. They can offer support and advice.

You may also find it useful to talk to other men with the condition. The charity Breast Cancer Care has an online forum for men with breast cancer. Cancer Research UK also has Cancer Chat, an online forum for anyone affected by cancer.

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