By Patty Kim - May 17, 2022
Infertile men may be twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those without fertility issues, new research suggests. It also found that for men who were diagnosed with the disease, significantly more had no children.
A new study published in Breast Cancer Research looked at 1,998 men newly diagnosed with the disease in England and Wales over a 12-year period. This work is part of the broader Breast Cancer Now male breast cancer study launched in 2007. The men were asked if they had biological children, if they or their partners had experienced problems conceiving, or if they had visited a doctor or clinic for fertility concerns.
The researchers compared the fertility of this group of men with breast cancer to 1,597 men with no history of the disease. They discovered that men diagnosed with breast cancer were more likely to have fertility issues, but they are unable to pinpoint why biologically.
"More research is needed to identify the cause of this association and if preventive measures can be taken to prevent the development of a subsequent breast cancer in males."- Dr. Hatem Soliman, Breast Oncology Program
“The reasons behind this association are unclear, and there is a need to investigate the fundamental role of male fertility hormones on the risk of breast cancer in men,” said study author Dr. Michael Jones of The Institute of Cancer Research. “We hope this could lead to insights into the underlying causes of male, and possibly even female, breast cancer.”
Dr. Hatem Soliman, a medical oncologist in the Breast Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, says the link between male infertility and male breast cancer has been noted before and this observational study provides additional evidence of an association.
“However, the study does not provide information on why this association exists,” said Soliman. “There is some information that abnormal estrogen/testosterone balance in males can lead to infertility and may also play a role in the development of male breast cancer. More research is needed to identify the cause of this association and if preventive measures can be taken to prevent the development of a subsequent breast cancer in males.”
The authors say more research is needed to understand what causes breast cancer in both men and women.
📈NEWS: Infertile men may be twice as likely to develop #BreastCancer than those without fertility issues.— The ICR (@ICR_London) May 17, 2022
In one of the largest studies into male breast cancer, funded by @BreastCancerNow, our scientists studied 1,998 men over a 12 year period. https://t.co/wQZHtQ70go