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17th May 2022

Infertile men may be twice as likely to develop breast cancer, study suggests

Kieran Galpin


The disease effects around 370 men a year

A recent study illustrates how infertile men could be twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who are able to procreate.

New research from the charity Breast Cancer Now has revealed that infertility could be directly linked to breast cancer in men. Studies surrounding male breast cancer are often small, as only 370 men are diagnosed with the disease a year compared with the 55,000 women.

The latest data set looked at 1,998 men from Wales and England over a 12-year period and hoped to offer insight into the “underlying causes of male, and possibly even female, breast cancer.”

By comparing the fertility of men with breast cancer to 1,597 men with no history of cancer, researchers were able to identify a clear connection. Though no biological reason was apparent, men with breast cancer reported fertility issues more often than those without the disease.


“These are important findings,” said study author Dr Michael Jones from the Institute of Cancer Research. “Our study suggests that infertile men may be twice as likely as those without fertility issues to develop breast cancer.”

He added: “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.”

Breast Cancer Now’s Dr Simon Vincent hoped that the information revealed by the research would reach men “who might benefit from being aware of male breast cancer.”

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