Dr. Jill Wilkens on Men's Bone Health and Mammography

Posted on: 08/29/2010

Just for Men

Male Breast Cancer and Mammography

Did you know that men get breast cancer too?  In fact about 1450 men are diagnosed in the United States with breast cancer yearly.We, at Progressive Radiology, are committed to the early detection and diagnosis of ALL breast cancer. 

Who should get a Male mammogram?

Because breast cancer is rare in men(accounts for one percent of all breast cancer), it is not beneficial to screen the general male population.  Discuss with your provider obtaining a Male mammogram if you have one of the following risk factors associated with male breast cancer:

· Family history (1 in 5 have close blood relative with breast cancer)
· Klinefelter syndrome (a congenital condition affecting 1 in 1000 men)
· Radiation treatment (for chest cancer such as lymphoma)
· Alcohol (heavy drinking)
· Liver disease
· Estrogen or treatment
· Certain occupations (hot environments like steel mills, exposure to gasoline fumes)

It is also important that men perform monthly self breast exams, particularly if they are at increased risk.If you are concerned about a finding in your breast, please talk to your medical provider today!

Men and osteoporosis
There is a higher incidence of osteoporosis in men than prostate cancer.  In fact, one in four men over the age of fifty will suffer an osteoporosis related fracture.

Therefore, men over the age of 50 with the following risk factors for osteoporosis:
· Smoking
· Heavy drinking
· Low testosterone
· Hyperthyroidism
· Glucocorticoid treatment

If you have one of these risk factors you should ask your medical provider about having a DEXA scan to screen for this bone weakening disease.

Bone Health:

Bone Densitometry
Bone densitometry is a type of imaging examination that measures your bone mineral density, which is a sign of bone strength. DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorption) is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that affects millions of women and men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing bones to thin, become more fragile, and more likely to break.  

The majority of those affected are postmenopausal women.  The estrogen produced in premenopausal women produced helps maintain bone density. After menopause begins bone loss increases each year and can result in a total loss of 25%-30% of bone density in the first five to ten years after menopause.

This bone density test can also assess your risk for developing fractures and is effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that can cause bone loss

Who should have Bone Densitometry?
 Speak with your primary care provider about obtaining bone densitometry if you have any of the following:
• History of bone fractures as an adult or having a close relative with a history of bone fractures
• Vitamin D deficiency, which can occur as a result of certain medical conditions
• Excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol
• Smoking
• Weight loss or low body weight; small-boned body frame
• Early menopause or late onset of menstrual periods
• Physical inactivity
• Taking a medication known to cause bone loss
• Hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism in men and women
• Low estrogen levels

What can I expect?
A DEXA scan is a quick, painless procedure that uses a small amount of very low dose x-rays for measuring bone loss. Measurement of the lower spine and hips is most often performed. Once in the room, this exam takes about 30 minutes.  You will be asked to complete a short questionnaire regarding your bone health history just prior to the exam.
How should I prepare for this procedure?
• Refrain from taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours before the examination..
• Wear comfortable clothing and avoid garments that have zippers, belts or buttons made of metal.
• Let your technologist know if you’ve recently had a barium examination or have been injected with a contrast material for a CT or radioisotope scan.
• Let your technologist know if there is a possibility you are pregnant.
Web Resource: (national osteoporosis foundation)

Authored by Dr. Jill Wilkens 

Learn more about Dr. Jill Wilkens

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