Difference Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer

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According to the World Health Organization, 9.8 million people died from cancer in 2018. Cancer is also a leading cause of death in India with around 1300 people dying each day. Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in the world. Cancer is a group of diseases that causes abnormal cell growth. It can spread to other parts of the body and cause severe damage. There are many types of cancer. They are often named after the specific area they affect. Let's focus on Breast Cancer and other types of cancer.

Gynaecomastia vs. Breast Cancer

Gynaecomastia vs Breast Cancer is two different things. Gynaecomastia refers to the abnormal non-cancerous growth of one breast or both, while Breast Cancer is a type. While Gynaecomastia is only found in men, breast cancer can be found in both males and women. This isn't considered a serious condition, but Breast Cancer can be fatal. It's caused by hormonal imbalance. Breast Cancer is caused by genetic disorders, lifestyle changes, late or absent pregnancy, and so on.

Gynaecomastia refers to a benign growth of tissue in the male breast. It is more common in males. This is caused by hormonal imbalance. The breast size increases are the only symptoms of this disease. One side may change, or both. Although drugs can be used to treat the condition, surgery is required for more severe cases. After treatment for Gynaecomastia, there is no close monitoring.

Breast Cancer is a Life-Throating Disease

Both males and women can get it. It is more common in women than it is in men. Breast cancer symptoms include "changing in breast shape, reddening of the skin, and other signs such as a change in colour. This is why there has been an increase in women's deaths. There are several stages of breast cancer. These stages range from stages 0 to 4.

Difference Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer in Tabular Form

Parameters for Comparison Gynaecomastia Breast Cancer
Nature of the disease It is not a cancerous disease. It can be life-threatening.
Occurrence Only for males Both males and females
Treatment Either by operation or drugs Radiotherapy or chemotherapy
Treatment costs Affordable Not affordable for all
Cause This is mainly due to hormonal disorder Multiple reasons can be given, including genetics, breast size, and mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

Contrary showing some Difference Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer

Many people mistakenly believe that disorders of breast tissue are only found in men. Gynecomastia, however, is a condition that only exists in men!

The benign growth of male breast tissue is called gynecomastia. It's quite common in males during puberty and in both genders' newborns. It usually disappears in the first few days for neonates, and within 2 years for most adolescents. Breast cancer is a serious condition that results in the malignant transformation and destruction of breast tissue. This can happen to both males as well as females.

Klinefelter's Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that causes breast growth, along with other disorders secondary to sexual characteristics, metabolic disorders, pituitary hormone deficiencies, liver failure/cirrhosis, and hyperthyroidism, are some of the other pathological causes of gynecomastia. The main disorder is an imbalance in estrogen and androgen testosterone levels. Breast development occurs in men when estrogen levels rise or fall. A good 25% of cases of gynecomastia are the result of medications like spironolactone, cardiac medication like nifedipine, verapimil, antacids like omeprazole, and prostate medications like finasteride/dutasteride and risperidone. Breast cancer incidences are higher among first-degree relatives than in those with a strong family history. Breast cancer risk factors include female gender, low birth rate, breastfeeding failure, obesity, smoking, high alcohol consumption, and high-fat diets.

Gynecomastia is a condition where there are swelling breasts in men on either one or both sides. This condition is often associated with an increase of overall chest tissue. If you have more serious medical conditions, pain and discharge are rare. There are many ways breast cancer can present. You might feel a lump or pain in your breasts.

What is Gynaecomastia and how can it be treated?

Gynaecomastia can be a non-life-threatening condition that affects both men and boys. A hormonal imbalance can cause an increase in breast tissue. This is due to a disbalance in estrogen and testosterone. It can affect one or both breasts. It can affect different areas. Gynaecomastia can affect male babies born during puberty or older men. This is caused by hormonal imbalance. Two hormones cause this. Either testosterone levels are lower or estrogen levels rise. Other factors can also cause gynaecomastia. It's not a serious problem. It can cause pain in the breasts. The age group between 50 and 69 is the most common for gynaecomastia. This disease affects at least one-fourth of the men in this age group. You can start treatment at home with some simple tips such as regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and proper nutrition.


The majority of adult males with gynecomastia have no symptoms. The following signs and symptoms may be present:

  • Pain, especially in adolescents
  • Swollen breast tissue
  • Tenderness to the breast
  • Rub against clothing to increase sensitivity

When should you see a doctor?

If you are unsure, consult your doctor

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness or pain
  • One or both breasts may have nipple discharge

Natural hormone changes

Both men and women have different sex characteristics due to the hormones estrogen and testosterone. However, men can also produce it but in smaller quantities.

  • Infant gynecomastia. The estrogen in their mothers' hormones causes more than half of infant males to have enlarged breasts.
  • Gynecomastia during puberty. This is quite common to have gynecomastia due to hormonal changes during puberty. But in most of the cases, swollen breast tissue disappear without treatment in six to two years.
  • Adult gynecomastia. Research suggests that between 24% to 65% of men aged 50-80 have the condition. Most men suffering from the condition do not experience any symptoms.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer can be life-threatening. Breast cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the breast. Cells grow at their maximum speed in this instance. It often forms tumours. It can be seen in X-rays. There are four stages of breast cancer. These stages are based on the size of the tumour. Stage 0, there is no invasion and the cancer cells are contained within the ducts. The growth rate of the tumour can reach 2 cm in the first stage. The tumour grows to a size of 2-5 cm in the second stage. Stage 3: The tumour is larger than 5 cm. The fourth stage is when the tumour spreads to other parts, such as the liver and brain. Although the cause of breast cancer remains elusive, most cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These are just a few of the many reasons. Breast cancer treatment is expensive. The cost of treatment is high. Women are more likely to die from breast cancer than men. Rarely, men die due to breast cancer. To avoid this disease, it is important to be aware of how you can live a healthy life.


Breast cancer symptoms and signs may include:

  • Feeling different to the surrounding tissues due to a breast lump or thickening
  • A breast may change in size, shape, or appearance
  • Modifications to the skin above the breast, such as dimpling
  • A new inverted nipple
  • Scaling, crusting, flaking, or peeling of the skin around the nipple (areola), or the breasts
  • The skin around your breasts may become reddish or pitted, similar to the skin of an orange.

Risk factors

Any factor that increases your chances of developing breast cancer is a breast cancer risk factor. However, having breast cancer risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer is a common condition in women.

Some of the factors are as follows

  • As you age. As you get older, your risk of developing breast cancer rises.
  • An individual history of breast conditions. A breast biopsy which has revealed lobular carcinoma of the breast (LCIS) or atypical high-grade hyperplasia of your breasts can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
  • An individual's history of breast cancer. A higher risk of developing breast cancer in the second breast if you have had breast cancer in one.
  • Breast cancer history in the family. Your risk of developing breast cancer is higher if your mother, sister, or daughter were diagnosed with the disease, especially if it was young. Despite this, most people with breast cancer are not related to the disease.
  • Cancer risk can be increased by inherited genes. Some gene mutations that increase breast cancer risk can be passed on from one parent to the next. BRCA1 or BRCA2 are the most common gene mutations. Although these genes may increase your chances of developing breast cancer or other types of cancer, they do not make it inevitable.
  • Radiation exposure. Radiation exposure increases your chance of developing breast cancer if you have had radiation treatment to your chest in your youth or adulthood.
  • Obesity. Obesity increases your risk for breast cancer.
  • You should start your period younger than you are. Your risk of developing breast cancer is higher if you start your period before the age of 12.
  • You should start menopause later in life. Breast cancer is more common in those who have started menopause later in life.

There is more difference between gynaecomastia and breast cancer

Gynecomastia is often associated with breast cancer. This is a common misconception. It's important to remember that there is no connection between gynecomastia patients and breast cancer sufferers. People often confuse gynecomastia with male breast cancer because they have the same symptoms. How can you tell the differences between male breast cancer and gynecomastia?

Take a look at the Symmetry

Symmetry is one of the most important distinguishing factors between a man with breast cancer and someone with gynecomastia. Men with gynecomastia will almost always have swelling in one breast. Men with breast cancer typically find only one lump or swelling in their breasts. There are exceptions to the rule as with everything.

Take a look at your family history

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), if your mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and you have inherited her defective gene from her, you are 40 to 80% more likely than others to develop breast cancer. You can have genetic testing done to determine if your mother or a family member has breast cancer.

Gynecomastia may be genetic. Some studies have shown that the main cause of this condition is hormonal changes in the body, some of which might be genetic, but most of them are not.

Take a look at your past habits

Are you a former user of steroids for bodybuilding? Gynecomastia may be more likely if you have a history of using steroids for bodybuilding. Many male steroid users can increase breast tissue growth by taking higher amounts of certain hormones.

Differences Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer in Points

  1. Gynaecomastia can be treated with non-cancerous methods. Breast cancer is a deadly form of cancer.
  2. Breast cancer is considered a life-threatening condition, while gynaecomastia can be treated with a minimal amount of pain.
  3. While gynaecomastia is more common in men, breast cancer can also occur in women.
  4. Gynaecomastia can be treated with drugs or surgery (in extreme cases). Radiation therapy or chemotherapy are the only options for treating breast cancer.
  5. The diagnosis of Gynaecomastia can be done with great accuracy, but it is not possible to diagnose breast cancer.

Take these home tips:

Gynecomastia, benign swelling of the breast tissue in males, is common in infants and young men.

Breast cancer can happen in women and men, but it is rare in men. If left untreated, breast cancer can cause a malignant transformation of breast tissue that may prove fatal.

Medications can cause gynecomastia. The offending medication will cause the body to return to its normal state after withdrawal. Gynecomastia can be treated medically.

For better results, breast cancer must be diagnosed early and treated promptly. A qualified specialist should be notified immediately if a lump, discharge, pain, or skin change.

Chemotherapy/radiation/surgery is available for breast cancer with good outcomes if detected in time.


Each disease has its own set of problems. Proper planning is essential. Treatment is possible if you plan well. Some people might be able to treat diseases such as Gynaecomastia. Breast Cancer treatment is expensive and not affordable for everyone. Treatment can be expensive. Technology and science are constantly improving. People are still dying from the inability to access proper treatment. Affordable treatment is the key to our future. This area should be funded for research and development. It is important to be health-conscious. You should immediately consult a doctor if you are unable to comprehend any symptoms.


  1. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/mmr/3/1/21
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/336/7646/709.pdf+html


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"Difference Between Gynaecomastia and Breast Cancer." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 17 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-gynaecomastia-and-breast-cancer-256>.

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