Follow-up for breast cancer in men

After treatment, you will have regular check-ups with your doctor or contact with your breast care nurse.

Having check-ups

After treatment, you will have regular check-ups with your doctor or contact with your breast care nurse. At first, your check-ups may be every few months. But eventually you may have them once a year.

If you notice any new symptoms between appointments, it is important to contact your doctor or nurse for advice. They will give you contact numbers, so you do not have to wait until your next appointment.

Instead of routine appointments, your breast care nurse may give you information on what to look out for. They will ask you to contact them or your cancer specialist if there is anything you are worried about.

Some men may have their follow-up appointments at a nurse-led clinic. They only see their cancer specialist if something needs to be checked further.

Many people find they get anxious for a while once treatment ends. This is natural. It can help to get support from family, friends or a helpful organisation. 
Macmillan is also here to support you. If you would like to talk, you can:

Be aware of changes

The treated side of your chest may look and feel different. This will depend on the treatment you have had. It is a good idea to be aware of what is now normal for you.

Your breast care nurse can tell you what you should expect and what to look out for. It is also important to know what to look out for in your untreated breast area.

If you notice anything unusual between appointments, contact your cancer specialist or breast care nurse straight away.


Lymphoedema is a swelling of the arm or hand. It sometimes happens after surgery or radiotherapy to the lymph nodes in the armpit. It usually develops slowly, months or years after treatment.

Lymphoedema is more likely to happen if all, or many, of your lymph nodes were removed. Having radiotherapy to the armpit as well as surgery increases the risk.

If just one or two of the lymph nodes were removed (a sentinel lymph node biopsy), the risk of lymphoedema is low. If you are not sure about what type of lymph node surgery you had, your breast care nurse can tell you.

If you notice any swelling in your arm, hand or chest, always ask your doctor or nurse to check it. The earlier lymphoedema is diagnosed, the easier it is to manage and treat successfully.


About our information

  • References

    Below is a sample of the sources used in our breast cancer in men information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at

    European Society for Medical Oncology. Primary breast cancer: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of oncology 26 (supplement 5): v8–v30. 2015. 

    Gradishar WJ, et al. Breast cancer in men. UpToDate online. June 2018.

    Morrow M, et al. Chapter 79: malignant tumors of the breast. DeVita, Hellman and Rosenberg’s cancer: principals and practice of oncology (10th edition). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2014.

    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Early and locally advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and management. July 2018.

    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Advanced breast cancer: diagnosis and treatment. Clinical Guideline 81. February 2009, updated August 2017. 

    Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. SIGN 134. Treatment of primary breast cancer: a national clinical guideline. September 2013.


  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editors, Dr Rebecca Roylance, Consultant Medical Oncologist; and Dr Mark Verrill, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.