The male breast is much smaller than its female counterpart, and it cannot produce milk. Because of this smaller size and simpler structure, breast disease is much less common in men than women. Still, men can develop important breast problems, both benign and malignant. Early detection is the key to a successful outcome, so every man should understand the basic elements of male breast disease.
Gynecomastia is the benign enlargement of male breast glandular tissue and is the most common breast condition in males. Since it causes anxiety, psychosocial discomfort and fear of breast cancer, early diagnostic evaluation is important and patients usually seek medical attention. Gynecomastia was reported to cause an imbalance between estrogen and androgen action or an increased estrogen to androgen ratio, due to increased estrogen production, decreased androgen production or both. Evaluation of gynecomastia must include a detailed medical history, clinical examination, specific blood tests, imaging and tissue sampling.
Breast lumps, cysts, mastitis, or painful breasts can occur in many women. It is helpful to know what causes these changes, when they occur and what treatments are available, particularly to relieve breast pain. Breast pain is the most common breast symptom and reason to seek medical help. The real cause is not known, but it is often linked to the menstrual cycle in younger women, with both breasts becoming tender or painful just before the period. This is a normal occurrence caused by fluid retention related to the woman's cycle, which is due to related hormonal activity.