(HealthDay News) – Men with breast cancer are more likely to present with larger tumors of higher grade which have metastasized, and they have worse five-year overall survival than women for earlier stages of the disease.

John Greif, DO, from Bay Area Breast Surgeons in Oakland, CA, and colleagues examined gender differences in demographics, tumor characteristics, treatments, and outcomes for all patients with breast cancer in the National Cancer Data Base from 1998–2007.

The researchers found that male breast cancer represented 0.9% of all breast cancers, with 13,457 cases compared to 1,439,866 cases of female breast cancer. Men with breast cancer presented with larger tumors, were less likely to have grade I tumors, and were more likely to have lymph node or distant metastases. Overall survival was significantly better for women than men, with five-year overall survival of 83 vs. 74% (median survival, 129 vs. 101 months, respectively). For women, five-year overall survival was significantly better for stage 0, I, and II breast cancer, but there were no significant differences for stage III or IV breast cancer.

“This large comparative study re-examines male and female breast cancer to compare patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatments, and outcomes, and demonstrates that men lag behind women in overall survival rates for early stage breast cancer,” the authors conclude.

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