Race and Medicine

Race and Medicine

Disclosures: Henley reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
November 10, 2020
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CDC surveillance data could guide screening, treatment for breast cancer among men

Disclosures: Henley reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Data on relative survival rates of men with breast cancer could help guide screening and treatment decisions and establish programs to support this patient population, according to study results in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Ensuring access to optimal diagnostic procedures and treatment, and ensuring they are accessed as soon as possible, might help reduce any health disparities seen among men diagnosed with breast cancer,” S. Jane Henley, MSPH, epidemiologist in the cancer surveillance branch in the division of cancer prevention and control at the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, told Healio. “If a man has a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, breast self-exam training and education, as well as yearly clinical breast exams starting at age 35, could be recommended.”

Data on relative survival rates of men with breast cancer.

Breast cancer among men is rare, with about 2,300 new cases and 500 related deaths reported in 2017. Henley and colleagues examined differences in relative survival of men with breast cancer by factors such as race, age, disease stage and geographic location. They pooled data from the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries on men diagnosed between 2007 and 2016 and calculated 1- and 5-year relative survival rates using the Ederer II actuarial method with the complete analysis approach to account for shorter follow-up time of cancers diagnosed in more recent years.

Researchers defined relative survival as the percentage of men who did not die of breast cancer 1 or more years or 5 or more years after diagnosis.

According to study results, the overall relative survival rate decreased from 96.1% at 1 year to 84.7% at 5 years. Specifically, relative survival decreased from 97% at 1 year to 82.5% at 5 years among Hispanic men, 96.4% to 86% among white men, 93.7% to 77.6% among Black men and 95.3% to 86.2% among men of other racial and ethnic groups.

Relative survival also varied by stage at diagnosis. For example, 5-year survival was higher for cancers diagnosed at a localized stage (98.7%) compared with those diagnosed at a regional stage (83.7%) and a distant stage (25.9%).

When the researchers assessed survival estimates by U.S. Census region, they found that survival rates decreased from 97.4% at 1 year to 87% at 5 years in the West, 96% to 83.9% in the South, 95.8% to 85.9% in the Northeast and 95.6% to 82.7% in the Midwest.

S. Jane Henley, MSPH
S. Jane Henley

“Currently, screening for breast cancer is recommended only for men with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. However, routinely discussing family health history with patients might help health care providers identify males at risk for developing breast cancer and guide clinical decisions,” Henley told Healio. “Future research should continue to monitor breast cancer survival among men in addition to examining trends in incidence and mortality for male breast cancer. These studies might help guide health care decisions regarding breast cancer testing and treatment among men and establish programs to support men at high risk for breast cancer and male breast cancer survivors.”

For more information:

S. Jane Henley, MSPH, can be reached at the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 4770 Buford Highway NE, MS S107-4, Atlanta, GA 30341; email: shenley@cdc.gov.