Oncology (General Cancer)/Gynecomastia


QUESTION: Dr. Nordquist,

I've contacted you before for some help but I have a different question that has recently popped up.

I've been reading about how gynecomastia seems to be associated with increased cancer risks due to the increase in estrogen levels it has to do with. I am a tall and lean 22 year old male in Canada. I do not have actual female-like breasts at all, but I have what seem like above average-sized nipples that are ''puffed'. I read that you can tell if it is gynecomastia by the feeling of a hard mass (gland) behind the nipple, which I do have. I wonder what the prospect of "significantly increased risk" means given in this context from the article I was just reading:


"At the end of the follow up in December 1999, the cohort constituted 8375.2 person years of follow-up time. A total of 68 malignancies versus 66.07 expected were observed; SIR = 1.03 (95% CI 0.801.30). A significantly increased risk for testicular cancer; SIR = 5.82 (95% CI 1.2017.00) and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin; SIR = 3.21 (95% CI 1.715.48) were noted. The increased risk appeared after 2 years of follow-up. Three men developed esophageal cancer versus 0.78 expected, giving a SIR of 3.82, (95% CI 0.7911.17), which does not reach the defined significance Level."

I also wonder how this interacts with the rest of my life and what it mens for the sum of my cancer risks. I have already had several fluoroscopic VCUGs done (5-7) during the early 90s for reflux and probably without any gonadal shielding on top of some pelvic x-rays, also probably without shielding, and just normal dental and chest xrays here and there. I also had a third nipple removed which is associated with genitourinary problems and malignancies. I have a varicocele, too. I can't help think that all of these issues are intertwined since they all seem to have a relationship.

I also live in a city that operates the largest nickle smelting smokestack on Earth, which produces all kinds of things in to the air like nickel, arsenic, lead, cadmium, etc. The population here has among the highest incidence of Cancer in the country and shorter lifespans, but this is also the second fattest city in Canada, and many people have a history of excessive smoking and poor diet and excercise, on top ofthe opulation who spends hours a day in dusty mine shafts. I'm not sure what correlates to what here. Since the city is built on several rocks and I live in a basement, radon also has a bigger presence here

As for myself, I don't smoke. I am exposed to moderate 2nd hand smoke on weekends, and I used to very casually smoke marijuana but not anymore. I had an exceedingly brief period where I did uppers, but no more. I drink very modestly. There have only been a handful of cancers in my immedate family as far as I know (skin, breast, and one spine).

So, I'm just curious as to what all that might mean for cancer snd disease risk. As always, I appreciate your insight and I have been meaning to donate some money to your other website for all your help over the months. I'll get to it eventually, I promise.



ANSWER: Well, we are all - so far - mortals meaning that at some point in time all of us will be dead. And we will have to die of something. Around 30% of us will develop some sort of cancer during our life spans. And around 10-15% or so of us will die of it. Breast cancer in men does exist, but it is RARE! We have literally hundreds of female cases of breast cancer for each male one. I agree you probably have a somewhat higher risk than normal with this some degree of gynecomastia. But even in that situation your risk is very low. It is not 0 but LOW!  Where you live (Sudbury?) and what you do is probably much more important than these inborn genetic risks. Besides those things you can do something about if you want to. Genes you can not - so far - change. So in your case I would much more likely start thinking about changing work and location than anything else. Good luck!

You can also reach me at: http://www.liveperson.com/professional/expert-profile.aspx?gsBMQvSJ0S4K1haAm6AtH
There is no limit to the number of questions there. Please note: NEW SITE!

Donations are also always welcome! No amount is too small, no amount is too big!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I wonder how you are familiar with Sudbury? I have been wanting to leave the city, I am just finishing my studies here (1-2 additional years left) and then I plan to move. That is for sure. I hope it has not had too much negative impact.

Also, is the gynecomastia only a result of higher estrogen levels, or does actually having gyno also influence the output of the hormone? As in, if they suddenly disappeared, or were removed surgically, would that influence one's hormones?

I forgot to mention I spent some time in toxicology lab at a university that had some radioactive substances out and about. I guess they were probably not very dangerous. I did not touch anything other than doors in labs but we were still warned about it. I also fly several times a year.

Also do you think varicocele, varicose veins, or spider veins on the surface could be a result of VCUGs?

ANSWER: Sudbury is famous! A giant meteorite strike site LONG ago which created this enormous mineral wealth. The way you described it it could hardly be any other place! Your breast tissue is probably extra sensitive to estrogen though its level may also be a bit higher. If you have your gynecomastia surgically removed it will hardly influence your estrogen level. If it had been dangerous to you these  substances would hardly have been allowed there! I do not think you need to worry at all about those blood vessels! Good luck!

You can also reach me at: http://www.liveperson.com/professional/expert-profile.aspx?gsBMQvSJ0S4K1haAm6AtH
There is no limit to the number of questions there. Please note: NEW SITE!

Donations are also always welcome! No amount is too small, no amount is too big!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I once at some cooked chantarelle mushrooms (not rinsed) around Graz, Austria once. I read that there is some serious accumulation of radioisotopes like caesium in many of these from Chernobyl. Is that serious?

Also, have you read any of the work from the deceased Dr. Gofman? He was a respected pioneer of many radiation-related things, including work on the atom bomb and studying x-rays immensly. He seems to have a very nihilistic view of the effects of medical radiation on the general population (tons of cancers happening, heart disease...) If so, do you think this makes my situation with the VCUGs, x-rays, genetic things like polythelia/genitourinary cancers and gyncomastia/cancers, flying, and city pollution, and past casual exposure to marijuana (and second hand smoke/half a cigarette) are all that grim?

This is a small summary of his beliefs:

That's all! I will visit your donation page tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks again


There may be some there after the Chernobyl accident though I would imagine that Austria was somewhat outside the area of contamination since the predominant winds if I remember correctly were mainly towards the north. However if this was a single incident - eating them once and not in fantastic quantities - I can not imagine that you will suffer any real harm from this. I have met Dr. Gofman once and had a discussion with him of sorts, it was mainly Gofman preaching to me. I found his views then and I still find them rather extreme to put it mildly. Radiation and radioactivity is NOT something new or invented by man! It is a natural always present phenomenon. And life has evolved with it! So yes it is harmful but not to the extent Gofman believed or we would not be here! Your question does not change what I have already told you! Thanks! If you do you may still end up on a page in Swedish. If you do the upper line asks if you want to pay from your PayPal account while the lower asks if you want to pay from a credit card. I do suggest that you use the lower line. That will probably be simpler and easier. I have now for a long time tried to change that page to English. It seems I have yet to succeed. But I will continue to try!

You can also reach me at: http://www.liveperson.com/professional/expert-profile.aspx?gsBMQvSJ0S4K1haAm6AtH
There is no limit to the number of questions there. Please note: NEW SITE!

Donations are also always welcome! No amount is too small, no amount is too big!  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.


Questions concerning Cancer, Oncology, radiation Therapy, Tumours, Chemotherapy, Cytotoxic Drugs, Hormonal Therapy, Radiation Protection.


I'm a Doctor of Medicine and specialist in Medical Oncology and Radiation Therapy educated & trained in Sweden. Now retired. Background in Radiation Therapy, Medical Oncology, Radiation Protection, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gynecological Oncology, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Cytology,Hematology and Internal Medicine. M.D. from the faculty of medicine, Royal Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Have also been an exchange student at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem Israel. Former medical consultant, Swedish National Board of Radiation Protection. Former Police Surgeon and Medical Examiner, Stockholm Police Department. Former Chief Medical Officer, The Royal Guards, The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Household Brigade, Royal Swedish Army Medical Corps. You can also reach me on: http://www.lifestylerescue.com/expert/health-fitness-advice/dr-claes-gustaf/128 I have no restrictions in the number of questions there. I also answer questions in these other categories: General History, Military History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

I'm a medical doctor and specialist in medical oncology and radiation therapy

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