The American Medical Association Monday called for heightened awareness of male breast cancer and called on the insurance industry to cover male breast cancer monitoring and diagnostic methods, including mammography.

“Male breast cancer is rare, but it tends to be diagnosed at later stages,” said AMA Board member, Dr. Edward Langston. “Heightened awareness of the increased risk in certain men may result in earlier detection of male breast cancer. Clinical breast examinations are effective at evaluating breast cancer symptoms, but mammography may also help.”

Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women than men. About 1,900 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, compared to 190,000 women, according to the American Cancer Society.

In 2009, 440 men diagnosed with breast cancer are expected to die. About 40,000 of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are expected to die.

Risk factors for male breast cancer include genetic predisposition, alterations to the estrogen-testosterone ratio, radiation exposure, and occupational hazards.