There are 5 standard male breast cancer treatments:
- Hormone Therapy
- Radiation Thereapy
- Targeted Therapy
Surgery for men with breast cancer is usually a modified radical mastectomy (removal of the breast, many of the lymph nodes under the arm, the lining over the chest muscles, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles). Breast-conserving surgery, an operation to remove the cancer but not the breast itself, is also used for some men with breast cancer. A lumpectomy is done to remove the tumor (lump) and a small amount of normal tissue around it. Radiation therapy is usually given after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances made by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.
Hormone therapy with tamoxifen is often given to patients with estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer.
Other types of hormone therapy include megestrol acetate or anti-estrogen therapy, such as fulvestrant.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the area of the body with cancer.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy do. Monoclonal antibody therapy, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are types of targeted therapies used to treat men with breast cancer.
Monoclonal antibodies are immune system proteins made in the laboratory to treat many diseases, including cancer. As a cancer treatment, these antibodies can attach to a specific target on cancer cells or other cells that may help cancer cells grow. The antibodies are able to then kill the cancer cells, block their growth, or keep them from spreading. Monoclonal antibodies are given by infusion. They may be used alone or to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive material directly to cancer cells.
Types of monoclonal antibody therapy include the following:
- Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the effects of the growth factor protein HER2.
- Pertuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that may be combined with trastuzumab and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer.
- Ado-trastuzumab emtansine is a monoclonal antibody linked to an anticancer drug. This is called an antibody-drug conjugate. It may be used to treat men with hormone receptor positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
- Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors block a protein called mTOR, which may keep cancer cells from growing and prevent the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow.