June 1, 2021
Breast Cancer in Men: What You Need to Know

When you think of breast cancer, what comes to mind? Many people picture women, sometimes wearing pink, or a pink ribbon. Although breast cancer very commonly seen in women, men can also develop breast cancer and it’s important to raise awareness and support men breast cancer thrivers or survivors as well.

The following are key facts about breast cancer in men:

  • The ratio of male-to-female breast cancer diagnoses is 1 man to every 120 women.
  • Male breast cancer rates are on the rise, which may be related to the hormonal effects of obesity.
  • Men are often diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages than women (because routine screening is not recommended for men).
  • Male breast cancer is usually estrogen receptor positive (ER+).

 

Specific risk factors for male breast cancer include the following:

  • A family history of breast cancer, especially in other male relatives
  • Certain genetic syndromes
  • BRCA gene mutation and other genetic mutations.
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome (sex chromosome combination of XXY), which carries a 50-fold increase in risk

 

How Is Breast Cancer in Men Diagnosed?

Usually, a man will discover the breast mass himself and seek medical attention. His physician will then take a careful history, perform a physical exam, and often order breast imaging, including mammography and breast ultrasound. If the imaging is suspicious, the patient will need a biopsy for a tissue sample.

How Is Breast Cancer in Men Treated?

Surgical treatment options for men diagnosed with breast cancer are the same as those for women. Male breast cancer can be successfully treated with lumpectomy and radiation therapy (also called breast conservation therapy). The current breast conservation rate for male breast cancer in the United States is 13%. This means that many men with breast cancer are being treated with mastectomy.

Chemotherapy and/or endocrine therapy treatment recommendations are similar for men and women, and are dependent on the stage and biology of the patient’s cancer. For estrogen receptor–positive breast cancers in men, tamoxifen is the drug of choice.

The risk of developing a new breast cancer in the opposite breast for a male breast cancer patient is about 1% to 2%. Due to this very small risk, preventive mastectomy, also called prophylactic mastectomy, for the opposite breast is not recommended.

Other Considerations for Men with Breast Cancer:

  • Genetic testing—8% of all male breast cancer patients will carry a BRCA2 gene defect. This information is especially important for their female relatives. Genetic counseling for family members can be lifesaving.
  • Risk of another type of cancer—12.5% of men with breast cancer will develop a second type of cancer. The most common associated cancers are prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer and colon cancer. Appropriate cancer screening guidelines are recommended.

 

Are Survival Rates Different for Men and Women?

Breast cancer survival for men and women is the same when the stage and biology of the breast cancer is similar. As with women, the earlier a breast cancer is detected and treated in a man, the better the chances are of taking care of the breast cancer and improving long-term survival.

 

-Dr. Ann Chuang

June 1, 2021
June is National Hernia Awareness Month

Hernias are extremely common, affecting millions of Americans each year. However, only a portion of those suffering from hernias actually seek treatment. National Hernia Awareness Month aims to raise awareness about hernias and the effective treatment options that are available.

Dr. Desiree D’Angelo and Dr. Ann Chuang, answered some frequently asked questions about hernias and discuss their responses in the below video.

 

 

  1. What is a hernia?
  2. A hernia is known as “a hole in the wall.” It occurs when there is a defect in the hole in the strength layer of your abdominal wall, which is also known as the “fascia.” A hernia commonly occurs within the torso between the chest and hips. Common sites include the groin and belly button. Sometimes, underlying fat or an internal organ can protrude out through the hole and this results in a bulge.

  3. What are some common symptoms of a hernia?
  4. Common symptoms of a hernia include a bulge or pain at the site. In some instances, hernias can cause intestinal obstructions, which becomes a surgical emergency.

  5. What are the common types of hernias?
  6. Common types of hernias include umbilical and inguinal. Other types include incisional and femoral hernias.

  7. Can a hernia go away on its own?
  8. Most hernias will not go away on their own. Most of them will require surgical intervention. This is because a hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall and the strength layer of the abdominal cavity. There are some exceptions to the rule (e.g. during pregnancy, some women will experience an umbilical hernia). Most times, these will resolve on their own after the delivery of the child. Most other hernias will require surgical intervention.

  9. What kind of doctor treats hernias?
  10. Different types of surgeons that repair hernias include general surgeons, some that are specialized in minimally invasive or robotic techniques, or plastic surgeons. Sometimes the plastic surgeon and the general surgeon will repair the hernia together.

  11. What can happen if a hernia is left untreated?
  12. If hernias are left untreated, they can sometimes become larger or symptomatic where they are painful, or parts of your small intestine or colon can fall into the hernia and make bowl movements or physical activity difficult. If the contents that are in the hernia start to get squeezed and lose their blood supply, it becomes an emergency where we must go to the operating room immediately to repair it, sometimes having to resect part of your intestine or colon. So, if you have a hernia that requires repair, you should definitely see your doctor sooner rather than later, so we don’t run into that emergency situation.

  13. How is a hernia treated?
  14. Hernias are treated with surgical repair, as long as you are able to undergo a surgical procedure. Hernias are usually closed with sutures in some fashion and reinforced with a mesh. The mesh is usually made of a polypropylene or sometimes an absorbable type of material, which are secured in place with either sutures or clips that are also sometimes absorbable. The hernia repair is usually done in an operating room under general anesthesia, sometimes laparoscopically or robotically, or through an open procedure which may be an incision overlying the palpable hernia.

  15. What is recovery like?

    Recovery after hernia surgery is usually about one week of being out of work and somewhat sore, followed by six weeks of no heaving lifting, nothing more than 5-10 pounds. A gallon of milk is about 10 pounds, so you won’t be able to lift anything more than that for 6 weeks following surgery. If your job requires you to do heavy lifting, sometimes your employer can offer you a light duty position or we would keep you out of work for those six weeks.  After your surgery we would see you in the office and make sure everything is healing well, and once you’ve met that six weeks of no heavy lifting you can slowly resume your regular physical activity including lifting and exercising.

 

To learn more about hernia repair click here or call our office at 844-973-0002.

 

April 9, 2021
Hernia Repair 101
A hernia is best explained as “a hole in the wall.”  It occurs when there is a defect or “hole” in the strength layer of your abdominal wall, which is called the fascia.  There are several different types of hernias and each must be treated accordingly. Where do hernias typically occur? A hernia most commonly occurs within the torso, between the chest and hips, often occurring in the groin or belly button. Sometimes, the underlying fat or an internal organ… Read More
March 1, 2021
Genetic Testing & Counseling: What You Need to Know
At the Premier Surgical Network, we are proud to offer both genetic testing and counseling services to our patients to support them throughout their breast health journey. Our team of surgeons are here to help you every step of the way when making informed decisions about your health. What is genetic testing? Genetic testing is done for individuals who have a genetic predisposition for developing breast cancer in the future, such as a family history. The BRCA gene test utilizes… Read More
January 31, 2021
Tips on Living a Heart Healthy Lifestyle
Did you know February is American Heart Month? In the US alone, about 500,000 open heart surgeries are performed each year. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in both men and women in our country. This month and all year long, our physicians encourage implementing daily practices that help create a heart-healthy lifestyle. Check in with your diet. Making minor changes in your diet can impact your long-term health. Your diet is the best tool to use in… Read More
January 4, 2021
New Year’s Resolutions For Your Best Health
As 2020 was not a year we were sad to say goodbye to, we want to start off 2021 in the best way possible! Join us in making this year a healthy and happy one with some tips from the surgeons of Premier Surgical Network.   Go to your regular or annual doctor’s appointments. Make it a point to schedule regular appointments like the doctor, dentist and eye doctor. Your body needs to be upkept and tended to in order… Read More
December 2, 2020
Ways to Combat the Winter Blues
The “winter blues” affect many people each year; this year being no exception. With the large impact that COVID-19 still has around the world, the winter months may be exceptionally difficult for many. It is imperative to keep your mental health in check during these months, and there are several ways you can boost your mood when the days are shorter and colder. Get outside when weather allows. Even though it’s less enjoyable to be outside when temperatures become frigid,… Read More
November 19, 2020
COVID-19 Breast Screening Update
Premier Surgical Network is proud to follow the American Cancer Society’s breast screening guidelines during COVID-19. While we understand that this can be a very difficult and overwhelming time for many, we would like to remind you that your breast health is a priority. Women at average risk for breast cancer should have annual screening breast mammography starting at age 45, and women ages 40-44 should also begin annual screening if they choose. During COVID-19, there has been an estimated… Read More
September 30, 2020
Breast Cancer Awareness
Breast Cancer Awareness month is celebrated each October. Breast Cancer is something that has impacted us deeply. As breast surgeons, this month means so much to us. We strive to provide compassionate care to our patients and their families as we navigate their treatment plan, surgery, and post-operative care. Breast Cancer Awareness Month allows us all to come together to support a common goal: The fight against Breast Cancer. This month, each of our surgeons answered a very important and… Read More
September 2, 2020
Lifestyle Modifications for Breast Cancer Prevention
Breast Cancer is something that has affected so many people and impacted our lives in some way or another. As with many cancers, there are several risk factors besides family history that impact this disease. On the topic of Health & Fitness Day, Dr. Ann Chuang details the correlation of breast cancer and living a healthy lifestyle. 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.  Most of these women do not have a family history of… Read More