Men can get (and beat) breast cancer

Breast cancer strikes men, too. Just ask KISS rocker Peter Criss, who is speaking out about his successful treatment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Criss joins other male stars who have battled the illness and want you to know the facts.

At the gym in 2007, Criss noticed a lump in his left breast, he told CNN. Doctors removed a cancerous tumor. Criss, 63, got early treatment and is now cancer-free.

Mr. Meow: Famous for his cat face (see photos with and without makeup), Criss was KISS' original drummer. In 2004 he left the band, which is now on tour with a new drummer.

Stats, stat! Male breast cancer
* is most common between ages 60 and 70;
* is 100 times less common than female breast cancer. Why?
* will strike this many American men in 2009; and
* will kill this many in 2009.

Some men hate doctor visits, for many reasons. But as Criss attests, prompt medical attention improves your odds of beating breast cancer. Be alert to these symptoms.

Prevention pointers: Don't drink heavily and do maintain a healthy weight. For some men, doctors may suggest mammograms. Find more male breast-health tips.

Not alone: Other well-known men who faced breast cancer include a former NFL player Ernie Green, a game show announcer (Price Is Right' Announcer Rod Roddy) and the original star of "Shaft (Richard Roundtree)."

What are the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer?

The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is finding a firm, non-painful mass located just below the nipple. The average size of breast cancer in men when first discovered is about 2.5 cm in diameter. The cancer may cause skin changes in the area of the nipple. These changes can include ulceration of the skin, puckering or dimpling, redness or scaling of the nipple, or retraction (turning inward) of the nipple. Bloody or opaque discharge from the nipple may also occur.

Breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bones may also produce bone pain at the sites of metastases. Advanced breast cancer can also produce symptoms typical of many cancers, including malaise, weakness, and weight loss.

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