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Male breast cancer patients in West Virginia and around the country are more likely to die than women, according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology. The study, which is the biggest of its type, was conducted by researchers at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Researchers examined data on 1,816,733 American breast cancer patients diagnosed between January 2004 and December 2014. Of those patients, 16,025 were men. They found male patients were less likely than female patients to be alive 3 years, 5 years and 10 years after their diagnosis. The discrepancy between sexes was still present after the researchers controlled for other contributing factors like socioeconomic status, access to care and clinical predictors.

Experts say that some of the reasons men are less likely to survive breast cancer include lack of awareness, failure to perform self-exams, and failure to comply with follow-up care. Men also tend to receive different treatments than women, which could negatively impact their chances of survival. While still relatively rare, breast cancer cases among American men have been on the rise. In 1975, there were only 0.85 cases per 100,000 men. In 2016, there were 1.21 cases per 100,000 men. Approximately 2,670 U.S. men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

Doctors who fail to diagnose breast cancer in male patients could be found legally liable in civil court. With the help of an experienced attorney, patients could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault doctor and hospital. This might lead to a settlement that covers current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other related damages.

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