Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in Ireland, affecting over 2,000 women in Ireland every year. Male breast cancer is very rare; but there are approximately 20 men diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment is managed through our comprehensive Specialist Breast Centre, the largest specialist service in a private hospital in Ireland.

It is important for you to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel at different times of the month and know what is normal for you. Whatever your age, size or shape it is important to take care of your breasts. If you are concerned about anything unusual with your breast you should make an appointment with your GP who can either reassure you or refer you for an appointment. It is also important that you attend for breast screening when invited by the National Cancer Screening Service.

Symptom Checker:

  • A change in size, shape or swelling of the breast: 1 breast may become larger than the other
  • Changes in the nipple: in direction or shape, pulled in or flattened, or unusual discharge
  • Changes on or around the nipple: a rash, flaky or crusted skin
  • Changes in the skin: dimpling, puckering or redness
  • Swelling in your armpit or around the collarbone
  • A lump, any size or thickening in your breast
  • Constant pain in one part of the breast or armpit

If referred to the specialist Breast Centre for further tests by your GP, you will have a combination of the following tests before a diagnosis can be confirmed:

  • Mammogram - is a low dose x-ray used to take pictures of the breast. Each breast is x-rayed from the side and from the top by a professionally trained Radiographer. Screening mammograms are performed on a routine basis on women to detect breast cancer at an early stage, before it has been discovered by a woman or her GP.
  • Breast Ultrasound - is used when something suspicious has been detected during a mammogram or self-examination. Sound waves are used to create images of the inside of your breast on a monitor. Ultrasound imaging is helpful for determining the precise location of a breast lump and whether the lump is solid or filled with fluid.
  • Fine Needle Aspiration - is where a fine needle is inserted into the breast lump and the Surgeon attempts to withdraw fluid. If fluid is removed and the lump disappears, no further testing or treatment will be required. If fluid appears but the lump does not go away, or if no fluid can be removed, further tests and treatment will be required.
  • Breast Biopsy - is where a small amount of tissue is removed from a breast lump, if it is found during your ultrasound that the lump is solid. This will then be tested in a laboratory and the results discussed with you.

Breast cancer arises in different parts of the breasts such as the ducts, lobules or in some cases in between tissue.

DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

LCIS – Lobular Carcinoma In Situ

IDC – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

ILC – Invasive Lobular Carcinoma

IDC Less Common Types

Paget’s Disease of the Nipple

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Recurrent and Metastatic Breast Cancer

  • Chemotherapy - is a treatment which uses drugs to destroy cancer cells in the body by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

    Depending on the type of cancer and the stage it is at, chemotherapy is used to:

    • cure cancer - by destroying cancer cells so they are no longer detected in your body.
    • control cancer -by keeping cancer from spreading, slowing its growth, or destroying cancer cells that has spread to other parts of your body.
    • ease cancer symptoms - when chemotherapy is used to shrink tumors that are causing pain or discomfort.
  • Radiotherapy- uses high-energy rays to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and dividing. Radiotherapy is a local treatment which targets cancer cells in the treated area and can be given inside the body (internally) or outside the body (externally).

Breast cancer in men is not common with less than 1% of all breast cancers occurring in men. Therefore most studies of men with breast cancer are very small.

Men and women both have breast tissue. The difference between the breast tissue in men and women comes down to the presence of hormones. In women, there are various hormones in the body which stimulate the breast tissue to grow into full breasts. In comparison, men normally don't make many of these breast-stimulating hormones, resulting in their breast tissue staying flat and small. However there are some men with medium-sized or bigger breasts but generally these breasts are only collections of fat.

There are times when men develop actual breast gland tissue, most usually because they are taking particular medicines or have abnormal hormone levels.

If you would like to learn more please click on the link Male Breast Cancer