Men need to know about Pinktober, too

Nikki Summer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about Medical Matters.

With October being Pinktober, it’s important to talk about breast cancer. It’s the second largest killer of women in a certain age.

Men can also get breast cancer.

Sommer said, “Women are more likely to get breast cancer than men, but men can and due to the fact that there is less tissue, it could actually progress a little faster. So it’s just important that if you are a man and you do feel a lump in your breast, you need to have that checked right away.”

What are some of the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer?

Sommer said, “A painless lump or thickening of the skin in the chest area. Changes to the skin, like if it’s dimpling, puckering, scaling, or even changes in the color. Changes to the area of the nipple, again, if it changes color, if it scales, and you can even have discharge or bleeding.”

It’s not entirely clear what causes male breast cancer.

Sommer said, “We all are made up of DNA and our DNA kind of has instructions on how it’s supposed to behave. It tells the cells what to do. It’s supposed to be like you’re set from the time you’re born to the time you die, your DNA knows what to do. In cancer, there’s changes to the instructions that it tells the body to do when it makes cells. So then that’s how cancer cells, they kind of produce and progress more quickly. That’s what usually causes a mass or a tumor in the body, and then that will actually destroy the healthy tissue around it.”

Believe it or not, men have milk producing glands in their breasts as well.

Sommer said, “Ducts that carry milk to the nipple, and the fatty tissue. So during puberty, women, they grow more breast tissue because they have more estrogen and progesterone, they have female hormones. Men have higher testosterone, so men’s breast tissue does not grow. However, the tissue itself is made up of milk ducts and milk producing glands, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to produce milk, but it does mean you can have cancer.”

Paget disease can be in men or women.

Sommer said, “That’s on the outside of the breast. It’s a patchy, it almost looks like you have a rash. That’s how it starts on the outside of the breast around the nipple, and it is inflamed tissue. If it doesn’t go away, that is a rare type of cancer that happens to both men and women. A type of cancer man can get just like a woman is we talked about ductal carcinoma. It’s the tumor that forms inside the duct or the glands in the breast. You can get a lobular carcinoma, both men and women can get it and Paget’s disease, it almost looks like a rash when it starts, or like an irritation around the nipple, but actually, it could be cancer.”

Risk factors that increase the risk of male breast cancer include age – men in their 60s.

Sommer added, “This is an interesting one, hormone therapy for prostate cancer, or medicines containing estrogen. And actually, I read something, too, talking about transgender women and men who take estrogen, even if they have surgery to remove their breasts, they still have the hormones, even though they block them, they’re still at risk for breast cancer.”

Inherited DNA changes could also increase the risk.

Sommer said, “It’s the same thing as a lot of women, they’ll say do you have a first degree relative with breast cancer? There’s a higher risk of men getting breast cancer if you know their mother were positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 genes.”

Klinefelter Syndrome can also increase the risk for men to get breast cancer.

Sommer explained, “It occurs when males are born with more than one copy of the X chromosome. That can affect the development of the testicles, but it also changes the balance of hormones in the body and increases the risk for men to get breast cancer.”

Liver disease is also another risk factor for men developing breast cancer.

Sommer said, “Liver disease, obesity and again testicular disease or surgery, I guess, if you have inflammation in the testicles or surgery to remove a testicle, it can increase the risk for males to get breast cancer.”

Diagnosis is critical.

Sommer said, “If you’re a man with a lump, you need to get a clinical exam, somebody that’s trained know if it’s a painless lump, if it’s something that’s come up right away, don’t let it go. Men can also and will be sent for a mammogram. So men can get a mammogram as well and an ultrasound or even an MRI.”

Treatment usually starts with surgery.

Sommer said, “The surgery is pretty much the same for men and women, as well as the post treatment, whether it’s radiation or chemo.”

The Key West Surgical Group has gotten a PICO short pro laser for tattoo removal and skin revitalization.

Sommer said, “We are hosting a brunch, and there will be live demonstrations. There’ll be some snacks and refreshments and it will be on November 2 from 11 to 2.”

The laser is quite revolutionary.

Sommer said, “We are the first one to get this model in the whole Southeast of Florida. So this is exciting.”

The laser can help with age spots and blemishes.

Sommer said, “Hyperpigmentation, melasma. A lot of women suffer from melasma especially after they have children. It’s a hormonal skin condition where patches of skin appear darker on your skin. It tends to be on your face and I have seen some women, they cover it with makeup. I mean, they will not leave the house without makeup on because of their skin, especially if they’re fair complexion, they’ll have darker just patches of skin on their face. This laser can treat that, it can treat acne scarring, even active acne if that is a problem this laser can help with that and definitely sun damage which a lot of people down here have. It helps even just from being in the sun in general, you can have an uneven skin tone, so it will help balance that out. With this laser because it works so fast, there isn’t a lot of downtime, which is good in this type of climate because other lasers, you tend to not be able to go in the sun for at least a couple of days or a week. I mean, always, always, always you have to wear sunscreen no matter what type of treatment you have done to your face, but within 24 to 48 hours, the redness will be almost completely gone. So you won’t feel like you can’t leave the house because you had a laser facial.”

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