Health Advice



One in 100 breast cancer cases are men; so guys, pay attention

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Actor Richard Roundtree, who starred as Shaft in the 1971 movie, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51. A double mastectomy and chemo saved his life. Peter Criss, the KISS drummer, was 62 when he was diagnosed in 2014. "You don't need boobs to get breast cancer," is his message to other guys. And 84-year-old former NFL star Ernie Green was diagnosed at age 67 -- when he went for a second opinion, after his regular doctor dismissed his concerns about a lump in his breast. They're all lucky to have survived, because male breast cancer is usually diagnosed late -- when it is more dangerous. Around 2,350 men are diagnosed in the U.S. with breast cancer annually, and 440 die from the disease.

At Cedars-Sinai's cancer center, the specialists recommend any man with a family history of early-onset female breast cancer, with more than one family member who has had female breast cancer, or if he is of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry get a genetic test to check if he is BRCA2 positive. So should guys who have had metastatic, high- or very high-risk prostate cancer or who have already had breast cancer. Being BRCA2+ raises the risk of a man developing breast cancer from 0.1% to 7% -- and boosts the risk for prostate and pancreatic cancer. And, if you have a painless lump, nipple discharge and/or an inverted or sore nipple, see an oncologist. Don't assume, like Roundtree did initially, "women die from this, not men. How could I possibly have that?"


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email


(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



Mother Goose & Grimm Poorly Drawn Lines Popeye Working it Out The Other Coast Rhymes with Orange