October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Women are encouraged to be aware of their family history and be on the alert for early detection. Often pushed to the side is the fact that men can develop breast cancer as well. It's estimated that about 440 men will die from breast cancer in 2015. That's quite a small number compared to the estimated 40,000 women that will die from the affliction this year. Yet, men should attempt to be on top of the situation as well. You can learn more from the Mayo Clinic.

Men produce small amounts of the female hormone estrogen. When something goes awry and abnormally high levels of estrogen are developed in men, it's believed that the odds for developing male breast cancer also rise.

Some of the possible factors that lead to the development of breast cancer in men are:

  • An inherited condition in which the male has an extra female X chromosome. There are studies that the odds of developing breast cancer increase.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse, which can result in cirrhosis, also may increase the chances of developing breast cancer.
  • If a man has several female relatives who developed breast cancer, there is an increased risk. This is possibly caused by a gene mutation.
  • Use of the drug Finasteride, which is used to treat baldness, is also be looked at as a possible factor in increasing the odds of breast cancer occurring, according to medicine.net.

Steps that a man can take to possibly reduce his odds of getting breast cancer include drinking alcohol in moderation, knowing your family history and reporting any suspicious lumps found on or near the breast.

Though the odds of a man developing breast cancer in his lifetime are about 1 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute, it is a reality and one should be aware of the possibilities.

Men have a 1% chance of developing breast cancer.