What It's Like to Have Gynecomastia by A. Abraham Levin, MD | NYC & Long Island
© Dragos Iliescu - Fotolia.com

© Dragos Iliescu - Fotolia.com

When most people think of breast cancer, they immediately think of women. While it is true that most breast cancer sufferers are women, the American Cancer Society reports that one percent of new breast cancer cases in 2015 will be in men. One of those men is Mark Vaux, a North Dakota man who has recently finished his breast cancer treatment.

Vaux starts his breast cancer story much like many women do by finding a lump in one of his breasts. He went to his primary care physician who recommended a mammogram. The mammogram didn’t show any cancer, so the doctor concluded that he had gynecomastia.

Gynecomastia is a condition in which male breasts enlarge, which is caused by an increase in estrogen. Overweight men can often times decrease their enlarged breasts with diet and exercise (pseudogynecomastia), while sufferers of true gynecomastia must undergo a male breast reduction procedure.

For Vaux, his enlarged breast was leading to other issues. His nipple started to crack, peel, and bleed. He visited his doctor again who chocked it up to a case of dermatitis. After treatment for dermatitis didn’t seem to cure it and the nipple started to invert, his wife encouraged him to make an appointment with Sanford Health’s Edith Sanford Breast Center. It was there that he discovered he had Stage II cancer.

From that moment on, he has been fighting his breast cancer much like women do; with a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Vaux lost his nipple and areola just like a woman would with a mastectomy.

Why This Story Is Important

Many men become concerned about their growing breasts, and seek guidance from their physicians. Thorough analysis of the breasts via mammograms and ultrasounds can rule out cancer as the culprit of the change in breast tissue.

In Vaux’s case, it took multiple mammograms and ultrasounds before it was discovered. This is why it is always a good idea to begin the treatment of gynecomastia with diet and exercise after hearing that the growth is not due to cancer.

Some men will see that their breasts decrease in size with lifestyle changes, while others may see other telltale cancer signs that may not have been found through testing, such as in the case of Vaux’s irritated and inverted nipple. If there are no other signs and breasts do not decrease in size, a gynecomastia procedure may be needed.

For more information about our state-of-the-art gynecomastia procedure and whether you’re a candidate, call Advanced Cosmetic Surgery of New York today. Our highly-qualified plastic and cosmetic surgeons can help you determine if this procedure is right for you.