Faulty gene linked to male breast cancer

Men who carry a faulty gene have a one in 15 chance of developing breast cancer by the time they are 70, researchers said today.

A faulty copy of the gene - called BRCA2 - causes hundreds of UK cases of breast cancer in women every year, and can be passed on to both sexes through the generations.

Breast cancer is rare in men, with about 300 cases in Britain each year compared with more than 45,000 among women.

Now, in the largest study of its kind, researchers have worked out the lifetime risk of breast cancer for men who carry the faulty gene.

Previous studies have linked the gene to prostate and pancreatic cancer in men.

Women with a faulty copy of the gene have a much higher risk of ovarian cancer, and increased risk of other cancers including cervical, uterine and bowel cancer.

The research, published in the Journal of Medical Genetics, involved data from 321 families with the faulty BRCA2 gene living in and around Manchester and Birmingham.

Among the families, 16 men who were first degree relatives of known BRCA2 carriers had developed breast cancer between the ages of 29 and 79. Another eight cases occurred in second degree relatives.

Professor Gareth Evans, from St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, who led the study, said the vast majority of the men who developed breast cancer were BRCA2 fault carriers themselves.

Analysis showed the risk of breast cancer among men with a faulty BRCA2 gene was 7.1% by the age of 70 and 8.4% by the age of 80.

Prof Evans said: "There is a one in 1,000 chance of developing breast cancer as a man in the general population.

"Men don't have to have a faulty copy of BRCA2 to get breast cancer, but the highest risk for man is if they have a faulty copy of the gene.

"The risk is 90 times higher than the risk for men in the general population."

Writing in the journal, his team said: "These risks are sufficient to increase awareness of breast cancer among men in BRCA2 families and to stress the importance of early presentation with breast symptoms."

Arlene Wilkie, director of research and policy for the Breast Cancer Campaign, said breast cancer is rare in men.

"Symptoms include a lump or thickening in the breast area and men should watch out for changes in the skin covering the breast such as a rash, ulceration or skin dimpling. Nipple discharge or inversion can sometimes occur too.

"Breast tissue extends into the armpit so anything unusual in this area should also be checked by a GP.

"Most lumps turn out to be harmless, but breast cancer is very treatable when detected early so if you have any of these symptoms, visit the GP without delay."

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

    Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before