Hundreds of thousands of women in the United States are diagnosed with each year, but some men are also afflicted with the disease.
Of 232,300 new cases of breast cancer expected to be diagnosed this year, more than 1 percent will be men, according to the .
“It can happen to literally anybody,” said Elisha “Bear” Baker, a male breast cancer survivor.
Baker is vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and in May 2005 he noticed a lump under his left nipple in the shower.
“I went and saw my doctor within 10 days and he told me not to worry about it,” Baker said.
Seven months and a second opinion from another doctor later, he realized the lump was breast cancer.
He has been free of the disease for nearly eight years, but when he was diagnosed and looking for answers, he couldn't find much.
“I started reading through, scanning through PubMed indexes looking for anything on male breast cancer and there was just nothing,” Baker said. “Truly today there is not much more.”
“We don’t know a lot about breast cancer in men and why it happens,” said Emily Nenon with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network here in Alaska.
Only 1.2 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are in men. Baker said men who notice something out of the ordinary on their body should be proactive.
“If you’ve got any kind of abnormality it doesn’t matter if it’s in your breast or any place else, go talk to a doctor and be proactive,” Baker said