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Lack of research reduces care for male breast cancer patients

Although people in Pennsylvania widely perceive breast cancer as a female disease, some men develop cancerous tumors in breast tissue. Medical researchers estimate that 2,670 men nationwide will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. Most of them will face a lower survival rate compared to their female peers. The bulk of breast cancer research has focused solely on women and left men with treatment options that may or may not work effectively on male bodies.

One breast pathologist speculated that breast cancer hormone medications aimed at stopping tumor growth might function differently within men. Differences exist between male and female endocrine systems. To identify better treatments for men, the Food and Drug Administration has asked pharmaceutical companies to include men in breast cancer drug trials.

Men may also face the stigma of having a women’s disease. They might ignore lumps and miss opportunities to detect the disease in an early stage. A study of male breast cancer patients also found that they often did not receive standard treatments. Despite questions about the efficacy of some medications, 84.5% of male patients had tumors identified as hormone-receptive positive, which could qualify them for endocrine therapy. Only 57.9% of this qualifying male group received the standard care whereas 70.2% of women with similar tumors received endocrine therapy.

Biases or lack of knowledge might cause medical professionals to rely on assumptions when diagnosing a disease or recommending treatment. Medical errors resulting from a failure to follow accepted standards of care might rise to the status of medical malpractice. An attorney might determine whether a person might potentially collect damages after suffering harm in a medical situation. A legal consultation might prepare a person to file an insurance claim against a medical provider or initiate litigation.