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Breast cancer in men

Second Opinion

health and fitness Updated: May 01, 2003 00:14 IST

Second Opinion / Dr Yatish Agarwal

I am a 45-year-old male with a history of breast cancer in the family. Can men can also develop breast cancer? If so, what are the danger signals?

- R.K. Saxena

Dr Avneet Singh Chawla, surgical specialist, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital, says yes, men can also suffer from breast cancer. However, the ratio is 200-300 breast cancers in women to one in men.

The signs to watch for are: any change in, around or beneath the nipple and areola either in size, shape or texture, particularly in men above 50 years of age. Any of these signs may develop singly or together and definitely mandate a surgical opinion. There is, however, no screening method that can pick the disease before it begins to show.

Prolapsed Uterus

I am 75 years old and suffer from prolapse of the uterus. My doctor has advised surgery. Are there no alternatives? What if I were to say “ no” to surgery?

- Prinita

Dr Nutan Agarwal, senior gynaecologist, AIIMS, says the best course for you would be to accept surgery and go for vaginal removal of uterus. This would ease your discomfort. Exercise at this age will not have much reward. However, if you are just not willing for surgery, you could try a supporting pessary for palliative treatment. When fitted into the birth passage, a pessary can sometimes hold the uterus and vaginal wall well and prevent their descent. A pessary however, cannot cure a uterine prolapse.

Constipation Qualm

I have been suffering from constipation for the last 3 year. Despite taking good amounts of water, green vegetables, fruits and sometimes, homeopathic medicine, there has been little relief. I also sometimes get blood in the stool and there is pain in my lower abdomen. Can you suggest a way out?

- Harshvardan

Dr S.K. Jain, senior gastroenterologist, Sita Ram Bhartia Institute, says you could find relief from chronic constipation by taking a high fibre diet. Psyllium husk, or Isabgol, taken with water, milk or curd would add bulk to stool and should relieve your symptoms. If you still do not find relief, a stool softener and a laxative, like Cremaffin or Agrol, could be tried. In addition, a prokinetic medication, like mozapride 10 mg, can be given to improve bowel motility.

You must also make a few changes in your life style. Besides taking plenty of liquids, you must also take regular physical exercise. That would help improve bowel movement.

In any case, you must refrain from digital evacuation. It can damage the rectal mucosa and cause ulceration in the rectum. It may also well be the cause of repeated bleeding from the rectum. The other distinct possibility of rectal bleeds could be piles. It would be best, therefore, to see a surgeon. You may apply a local anaesthetic, like Xylocaine, and an anti-inflammatory preparation like Anovate, or Faktu ointment for a few weeks. However, if the bleeding persists, a sigmoidoscopy may be required.

First Published: May 01, 2003 00:14 IST