The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Treatment for Male Breast Cancer

Read our blog, Men Get Breast Cancer Too.

Breast cancer can occur in men. This may be called male breast cancer. In 2024, it’s estimated 2,790 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. [242].

Men can also be diagnosed with benign (not cancer) breast conditions.

Find more statistics on breast cancer in men.

Types of breast cancer in men

Most male breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas (the cancer begins in the milk ducts of the breast).

Fewer than 2% of breast cancers in men are invasive lobular carcinomas (the cancer begins in the lobules of the breast) [247].

Men can also be diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (a non-invasive breast cancer) [247]. Inflammatory breast cancer and Paget disease of the breast (Paget disease of the nipple) are rare in men [247].

Male breast cancers tend to be hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative [247-248].

Learn about the anatomy of the breast.

Genetic testing in men

All men diagnosed with breast cancer should have genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) inherited gene mutations [8]. Men with breast cancer are more likely than women with breast cancer to have a BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutation [249].

Genetic testing to guide treatment

For people with breast cancer, knowing you have a BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutation can help guide treatment. Men who have a BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutation may be treated with a PARP inhibitor.

Learn about treatment with a PARP inhibitor for early breast cancer.

Learn about treatment with a PARP inhibitor for metastatic breast cancer.

Genetic testing to learn about risk

Genetic testing is recommended for all men diagnosed with breast cancer to learn if the breast cancer is related to an inherited gene mutation [8]. Some inherited gene mutations increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers, and this information can be important for your family members [8].

  • Men who have a BRCA2 inherited gene mutation, and to a lesser degree men who have a BRCA1 mutation, have an increased risk of breast cancer [8,250-254].
  • Men who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 inherited gene mutation have an increased risk of prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer [8,251-257].
  • Men who have a BRCA2 inherited gene mutation have an increased risk of melanoma [8,254-255]

There are special cancer screening recommendations for men with a BRCA2/1 inherited gene mutation.

Your health care provider can recommend a genetic counselor so you can learn more about genetic testing.

Learn more about genetic testing and genetic counseling.

Learn more about BRCA1/2 inherited gene mutations and the risk of breast and other cancers in men.

Treatment for metastatic male breast cancer

Learn about treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

Treatment for early and locally advanced male breast cancer

Treatment for breast cancer in men is similar to treatment for women.

Treatment for early and locally advanced breast cancers includes some combination of:

Surgery and radiation therapy

The main treatment for breast cancer in men is surgery to remove the tumor. This is usually a mastectomy because of the small size of a male breast. Some men may choose to have breast reconstruction.

Some men who have a mastectomy may also have radiation therapy after surgery, depending on the stage of the breast cancer.

Sometimes, breast surgery in men is a lumpectomy (also called breast-conserving surgery). Men who have a lumpectomy usually have radiation therapy after surgery.

Hormone therapy

Most male breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive [247-248].

For men with hormone receptor-positive breast cancers, the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen, with or without the CDK4/6 inhibitor abemaciclib (Verzenio), is usually the first drug therapy used. Tamoxifen is a pill taken every day for 5-10 years.

For men who can’t take tamoxifen, an aromatase inhibitor combined with androgen deprivation therapy may be used to treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Side effects of tamoxifen in men

In men, possible side effects of tamoxifen include [105-108]:


  • Headache
  • Hot flashes
  • Impotence
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Nausea and vomiting


  • Cataracts
  • Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the large veins)
  • Pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the lungs)
  • Skin rash
  • Stroke

Completing hormone therapy

To get the most benefit from hormone therapy, you need to take the full course of treatment. Men who complete the full course have better survival than those who don’t [95].

Tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment is prescribed for 5-10 years. The length of treatment along with side effects can make it tough to complete treatment.

If you have any side effects with tamoxifen, talk with your health care provider.

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, a daily pillbox or setting an alarm on your watch or mobile device (you may be able to download an app) may help.

However, you don’t need to panic if you miss a day or two.

Learn more about the importance of following your treatment plan.

Chemotherapy, HER2-targeted therapy, immunotherapy and PARP inhibitor therapy

For men with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, chemotherapy is usually the first drug therapy used.

For men with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, chemotherapy may be given before tamoxifen therapy, depending on the cancer stage.

Men who have HER2-positive breast cancers may be treated with HER2-targeted therapy. For example, treatment may include trastuzumab (Herceptin) plus chemotherapy.

Some men with triple negative breast cancer may get the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda).

Some men who have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 inherited gene mutation and have HER2-negative breast cancer may get the PARP inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza).

Survival for men with breast cancer

The chances of survival for breast cancer in men are similar to the chances of survival in women of the same age and cancer stage [243].

However, men are often diagnosed at a later stage than women [243-244]. Men do not routinely get screening mammograms and they may be less likely than women to report warning signs or symptoms of breast cancer. This may lead to a delay in diagnosis [245].

Survival rates

The 5-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer is 84% [246]. This means men with breast cancer are, on average, 84% as likely to live 5 years beyond their diagnosis as men in the general population.

The 10-year relative survival rate for men with breast cancer is 74% [246].

Survival rates are averages and vary depending on each person’s diagnosis and treatment.

Learn more about survival rates.

Treatment guidelines

Although the exact treatment for breast cancer varies from person to person, evidence-based guidelines help make sure high-quality care is given. These guidelines are based on the latest research and agreement among experts.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are respected organizations that regularly review and update their guidelines.

In addition, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has treatment overviews.

Talk with your health care team about which treatment guidelines they follow.

After you get a recommended treatment plan from your health care team, study your treatment options. Together with your health care team, make thoughtful, informed decisions that are best for you. Each treatment has risks and benefits to consider along with your own values and lifestyle.

Clinical trials

Read the blog, How Do You Thank Someone For Time.

Research is ongoing to improve all areas of treatment for breast cancer.

New therapies are being studied in clinical trials. The results of these studies will determine whether these therapies become part of the standard of care.

After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, we encourage you to consider joining a clinical trial.

Susan G. Komen® Patient Care Center

If you or a loved one needs information or resources about clinical trials, the Patient Care Center can help. Contact the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877-465-6636 or email

Se habla español. in collaboration with Komen offers a custom matching service to help find clinical trials that fit your needs. 

Learn what else Komen is doing to help people find and participate in breast cancer clinical trials, including trials supported by Komen.

Learn more about clinical trials

Support for men with breast cancer

Social support is important after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Men with breast cancer may feel alone. Support groups for breast cancer may only have female members, so joining a support group for men with any type of cancer may be more helpful.

Our Support section has a list of organizations that offer online support groups and other support resources for men with breast cancer. For example, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network has online support for men with breast cancer.

Learn more about social support, support groups and support resources.

Susan G. Komen® Support Resources

  • Do you need help? We’re here for you. The Komen Patient Care Center is your trusted, go-to source for timely, accurate breast health and breast cancer information, services and resources. Our navigators offer free, personalized support to patients, caregivers and family members, including education, emotional support, financial assistance, help accessing care and more. Get connected to a Komen navigator by contacting the Breast Care Helpline at 1-877-465-6636 or email to get started. All calls are answered Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m to 7 p.m. ET and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Se habla español.
  • The Komen Breast Cancer and Komen Metastatic (Stage IV) Breast Cancer Facebook groups are places where those with breast cancer and their family and friends can talk with others for friendship and support.
  • Our Male Breast Cancer resource has information on risk, diagnosis, treatment and support.
  • Our Mission Moment: Breast Cancer in Men webinar has information from oncologists as well as men with breast cancer.
  • Our other fact sheets, booklets and other education materials offer additional information.

Updated 05/16/24