`Include men in breast cancer trials`

Washington: Men may find it hard to report anything in their breast, even if it is a lump, but the fact is breast cancer is not exclusive to women and though the proportion is small, men too can have it.

Knowledge on male treatments and methods is surprisingly limited, but this may soon change as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US is now urging pharmaceutical companies to include men in breast cancer clinical trials.

"Men have historically been excluded from breast cancer trials," said Tatiana Prowell, a breast cancer scientific lead at the FDA's Office of Haematology & Oncology Products.

"We are actively encouraging drug companies to include men in all breast cancer trials unless there is a valid scientific reason not to," Prowell added.

Marleen Meyers, an assistant professor specialising in breast cancer at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, said: "Male exclusion is particularly problematic at a time when many modern and promising breast cancer drugs are available only through trials".

Male breast cancer has attracted much less attention, perhaps because the disease is less common among men than women.

Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"It is possible that successful treatments could differ between genders," Prowell said.

"We would not know until more men are included in breast cancer clinical trials," she added.

Increased male enrolment in clinical trials might help redress the issue of awareness, the Daily Beast reported.

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