Especially a fat guy. Especially an old fat guy.
The nation's growing obesity problem may have contributed to an increase in breast cancer among American men over the past 25 years. Breast cancer remains a tiny risk in men, but the number of cases in the United States climbed by 26 percent between 1973 and 1998, according to a new study -- the largest to date -- on more than 2,500 American men with the disease. It was published Monday in the online version of Cancer, the American Cancer Society's journal. "We didn't know before this that male breast cancer was increasing," said Dr. Sharon Giordano, assistant professor of medicine and breast medical oncology at the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who authored the study. "It remains a very rare disease, even though it's gone up. [...] The study also found that men tended to be diagnosed with breast cancer later than women, likely because screenings are not as common for men. Men were slightly older -- 67 compared to 62 for women -- when the cancer was found, and the disease was typically in its later stages when discovered in men. Despite this, cancer experts say the breast cancer risk for men remains low enough that they should be more concerned with common killers, such as heart disease and lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.
And speaking of being more concerned about prostate cancer:
May 26, 2004, 6:57 PM EDT
BOSTON -- A disturbing new study has found that 15 percent of older men with supposedly normal readings on the widely used PSA test have prostate cancer anyway -- and some even have aggressive tumors.
The findings intensify the dilemma of how to interpret the test results and how vigorously to treat men with no symptoms. Some experts think the threshold for what constitutes normal on the PSA test should be lowered, at least in some cases. But others say that could lead to more unnecessary operations in the many men whose tumors are so slow-growing that something else will kill them before the cancer ever does. [...] The test measures bloodstream levels of a protein manufactured by the prostate, a male sex gland. Cancer expands the gland, pumping out more of the protein and raising the PSA count. A count of 4 or below (calculated in nanograms per milliliter) has been widely considered to be normal. However, the researchers found that 15 percent of 2,950 men ages 62 to 91 -- all with normal PSA counts and rectal exams -- had prostate cancer anyway. And 2 percent of the overall group had tumors that looked aggressive under a microscope. "This study adds to information that perhaps the PSA threshold may be dropped to 2.5 or so," said Gomella, the Philadelphia urologist. "The number 4 may not be the, quote, normal that we look at anymore."
Lead study author Dr. Ian Thompson of the University of Texas at San Antonio said the findings justify stronger measures for some men who have low PSAs but other risk factors, such as prostate cancer in the family. However, other patients may decide more often to watch and wait, since the findings -- viewed in another light -- add to the evidence that harmless prostate cancer is quite common, Thompson suggested. "It will allow two men to look at these data and come to different conclusions," he said.
The stakes are high in doing too little. Cancer of the prostate kills more men than any other kind except lung cancer. About 230,900 cases will be diagnosed this year among American men, and around 29,900 will die from it during the same period, according to the American Cancer Society.
So basically, you get fat, you get old, your tits decide that they just don't like you any more, and the plumbing downstairs goes bad. And such is life.
Just imagine all the fun things our ancestors missed out on back in those days when most of them didn't get enough to eat, they lived hard, died young, and left an emaciated, malnourished, 30-years-old or younger corpse. But they didn't get male breast cancer or prostate cancer so much! Oh, for those good old days....Posted by iain at May 26, 2004 06:46 PM