Mammograms for men

Yes, I had a mammogram about 7 years ago, for the same reason as you, a lump in my breast that worried me. I knew that men can get breast cancer in rare cases. I don’t remember the procedure as particularly painful, but I have kind of old guy’s man boobs, so there’s something to grab and maybe that helped a bit. The radiologist’s diagnosis was unusual breast enlargement caused either by medication or unbalanced hormones (explains my man boobs, because I never was overweight). I looked up information about my medication and alas, for one of my pills I had been taken for years (and still take), that was noted as a frequent side effect. After some months, the lump vanished, and I left it at that.

If it helps, it seems like the frequent advanced stage of male breast cancer is due to not being aware of or ignoring early signs, so good for you! If it helps, a mammogram is less painful than the consequences of ignoring a lump.

I had one a few years back due to some kind of infection. I would describe it as uncomfortable but not painful. The lady doing the exam said the experience is worse for men because it’s harder to get much of our smaller boobs to spread out, but I don’t know how anybody actually knows how to compare the experience. Besides, women have breast discomfort more often than men in daily life, which I’d expect to make mammograms more uncomfortable.

These kinds of statements are ridiculous. By that logic, we should all have a limb hacked off just so we can see what amputees go through. Or get chemo just so we can see what cancer patients go through.

Good heavens, Machine_Elf, that’s stretching an analogy well past breaking point.

Suggesting that somebody undergo a ten-minute somewhat painful non-invasive diagnostic procedure just for the experience may be somewhat pointless and silly, true. But it is nowhere NEAR logically equivalent to suggesting that somebody undergo a system of highly toxic and potentially fatal chemo treatments, let alone permanently sacrificing a healthy limb, just for the experience. Your attempted analogy is way more ridiculous than anything racer72’s wife or neighbor said.

That noted, I think it’s not only pointless and silly but rather insensitive and mean to “make fun of” men for having mammary health issues. Newsflash, men have breasts too, and men’s breasts can have various pathologies just like women’s breasts can. There’s nothing humorous or mockable about it.

Not trying to remote-police racer72’s and his wife’s personal tastes in marital joking and japery, of course. Just saying that when I as a random total stranger read about somebody making fun of a man getting a mammogram, my reaction is not “ha ha good joke” but rather “wow, kind of an asshole take on the situation there”.

Heartily seconded! :+1:t4:

I recall seeing a card several years ago where a female doctor/medical technician is saying to a guy in a hospital gown “Just place it between these plates”, pointing to a mammogram-like x-ray machine placed at groin height, evidently implying this was a screening for testicular cancer.

That’s enough to engender male sympathy.

I’ve thought for years that the obvious thing to do is a sort of CAT scan for breasts, using more modern X-ray devices either set in a permanent circle or rotating as a CAT scanner does (then de-convolving the results via a Radon transform). The result would be a mammogram un an undistorted, un-squashed boob. The reason it wasn’t done, I was told, was that it cost a lot more and took a lot longer. But the advantages in interpreting results for an undistorted organ, not to mention patient comfort, would make up for that, I thought.

Evidently things have become cheaper and faster, because such devices are starting to appear. But certainly aren’t common yet.

Yes, but they’re FEMALE organs. And females are used to pain and discomfort, don’tcha know. Why throw a bunch of $$ at a problem that’s never really gonna go away.



If anyone is interested (FYI), we discussed this topic back in December. This is not to imply that the current, perfectly valid discussion shouldn’t continue right here. (I’m lookin’ at you, @NJS36)

We once told a man who was going to participate in a community-wide prostate cancer screening that he was going to have a Man-O-Gram. He hadn’t thought of it that way (and the test was negative).

As a female breast cancer survivor, the technician did tell me at one mammogram that they can indeed get images of men’s breasts, and not necessarily “moobs” either. They’re trained for that. For me, the procedure pinches a little, but has never been terribly painful. She did tell me that the reason the early mammograms were so painful was because they did their best to get ribs into the image, and that isn’t done now.

TL : DR - it’s really nothing to fear.

Fair enough, but I had the impression that a core tenet of civilized society is that we generally disapprove of people insisting that the solution to their problem is for others to feel the same pain they do.

That seems a bad core tenet. Having people walk a mile in your shoes is a very common method of trying to get people to recognize your issues and empathize with them. It’s a tactic used in training all the time. Sure, you don’t intentionally hurt someone, but you have, say, doctors having to experience a procedure done on them or police with tasers having to feel what it’s like to be tased. Or school classes giving kids those dolls they have to take care of so they get a taste of the stress of parenting.

Revenge is bad. Causing harm is bad. But helping people empathize by having them walk a mile in your shoes? I don’t really see how society says that’s wrong.

Having had both a mammogram and several prostate exams, I can say the prostate exams are much more uncomfortable, to the point of painful. I found myself avoiding scheduling checkups because I dreaded them, before I mustered up the discipline to just deal.

That said, they can look for prostate cancer by exam, by blood test, and maybe other ways too. The blood test doesn’t hurt much, it’s just a draw. What kind of screening are we talking here? (I don’t actually know specifically what “screening” implies in this context.)

That is a fatuous statement. My cousin’s husband had breast cancer and he was not overweight at all. I would avoid judgmental physicians like that. Or even make a formal complaint.

It was a blood test, and a rectal exam, available at no charge to men 50 or over with no income guidelines. IDK if this program still exists.

IAN racer72 or racer72’s physician and cannot speak for either of them, but it looked pretty clear to me from the OP that racer72’s physician was not saying that breast cancer is due to being overweight.

Rather, what she said was that she thinks racer72 has gynecomastia, which is not usually cancerous, and which can be caused by being overweight:

So, y’know, Hari, before you get all indignant about her statements being “fatuous” or “judgmental”…

Lots of medical centers are now equipped with a machine that takes a 3D picture of the breast that does not involve squishing the breast. And the picture is more revealing of the structure. I opted for this and didn’t even have to pay any OOP for the upgrade because my mother died from breast cancer and I have “dense” breasts. Yay for progress.

My older brother had a mammo years ago for a lump under the nipple. He confirmed that women were right to complain but that he had it worse he didn’t have hardly anything to be squished. (I’m guilty of calling it man flu.) Luckily, it came up as a cyst that resolved itself.

Had may mammogram and ultrasound, it was what the doctor expected, gynecomastia. He also looked over my health history and the cause was likely from a prescription drug I had been taking for my prostate. He couldn’t give me a timeline for the future, it could go away or advance into full on boobage. As long as there are no major changes to the lump, it really should not affect me into the future.

What a relief!

Good news!

On a related note, I noticed that my newly-acquired rescue cat (RIP, Tuxedo) had enlarged breasts, and I took him to the vet because I was concerned about what could possibly cause this in a neutered male cat. The vet took one look at him, and told me that he was slightly overweight.

Glad to hear the news @racer72 !