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Breast cancer awareness call - for men

Tuesday October 4th, 2011

Breast cancer in men is a growing problem in the UK, researchers warned yesterday.

New figures, released during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, show a 40 per cent increase in incidence of the disease in the last 20 years.

About 70 men a year die from the disease and 340 men contract it, experts said.

One of the key factors is thought to be growing rates of obesity.

Researcher Dr Valerie Speirs, of Leeds University, has reported on the extent of the problem in the journal Breast Cancer Research.

She said: "Lifestyle changes over the latter decades of the 20th century, leading to increased obesity, physical inactivity and development of a binge drinking culture may be contributing factors.

"Some of the same inherited genetic changes that increase the risk of women developing breast cancer are also thought to influence risk in men."

The researchers are now collecting samples from male patients in the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, based in Leeds.

Breast Cancer Campaign chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: "The study of breast cancer in men has been difficult in the past because of the relatively small number of cases. As early diagnosis and treatment is vital to increase the chances of survival, we need to raise awareness.

"The new Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, with a core centre in Leeds, will be invaluable to researchers to enable them to understand the molecular causes, similarities and differences between male and female breast cancer, as well as testing the effectiveness of existing and new treatments."

The project is also getting backing from a local charity Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Male breast carcinoma: increased awareness needed, White J, et al, Breast Cancer Care doi:10.1186/bcr2930

Tags: Cancer | Menís Health | UK News

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