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Breast cancer rises among men, survival rate lower than women's

New Jersey residents should be aware that men can also suffer from breast cancer. In fact, the number of male breast cancer patients in the U.S. has risen from 0.85 per 100,000 men in 1975 to 1.21 per 100,000 men in 2016. An estimated 2,670 men will develop the cancer in 2019 alone. Unfortunately, men with breast cancer have lower survival rates than women do, and there are several factors in this.

First of all, breast cancer treatments are based on data collected from female patients. The FDA has, however, recently been encouraging the inclusion of men in breast cancer trials. Another issue is that fewer men receive endocrine therapy even when they are hormone-receptor positive, meaning their tumors grow in response to estrogen or progesterone.

The drugs used in endocrine therapy can effectively stop the hormones from making the tumors grow. Yet out of the 84.5% of men in one study who were deemed hormone-receptor positive, only 57.9% received endocrine therapy. By comparison, 75.8% of the women were hormone-receptor positive, and 70.2% of those women received the therapy.

Also, men do not regularly perform breast exams on themselves, and some who suspect the cancer are too ashamed to get a follow-up. Others may avoid the tamoxifen regimen that's used as a follow-up treatment.

All this means that many men are being diagnosed at later stages when less can be done. In some cases, doctor negligence can lead to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Those who believe they were the victims of such negligence can pursue a medical malpractice case, but they may want legal advice and guidance. A lawyer may request an inquiry with the medical board and even conduct an independent investigation to prove that the doctor failed to adhere to an objective standard of care.

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