Male breasts not beyond medicine

Your front page (November 5) shows, as correctly reported, an obvious case of gynaecomastia - the growth of breasts in males. This condition can be seen commonly in the normal development of young boys in puberty, where it usually regresses spontaneously.

Your front page (November 5) shows, as correctly reported, an obvious case of gynaecomastia - the growth of breasts in males. This condition can be seen commonly in the normal development of young boys in puberty, where it usually regresses spontaneously.

It is also associated with numerous medical conditions like liver or kidney diseases or also with untreated HIV-Aids. It can be seen with substance abuse like alcohol or dagga, but also as a possible side-effect of commonly used medications. Worldwide, there are reported cases of patients on ARVs of all different classes that develop gynaecomastia.

We see these patients on a regular basis at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Breast Clinic. We must not forget that these patients are successfully treated for a life-threatening disease, and now we are dealing with a manageable side effect.

In minor cases, reassurance is all that is needed. A further option might be a change of the treatment regimen or the addition of a drug like Tamoxifen. Failing all these options, HIV being controlled and if the patient wishes, we can offer an operation to remove the excess breast tissue and we would be happy to offer that also to the gentleman.

Dr H Cubasch,

Head of Breast Unit,

Chris Hani Bara Hospital

X