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Big breasts in men caused by tumours

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th December 2000 03:00 AM

David Serugunda, 20, a peasant in Bukambagga village, Katikamu county in Luwero district is different from other men. Since childhood he has had big breasts which have grown bigger with time.

Prolactinomas if not treated at an early stage can make men produce milk By Kikonyogo Ngatya David Serugunda, 20, a peasant in Bukambagga village, Katikamu county in Luwero district is different from other men. Since childhood he has had big breasts which have grown bigger with time. Every one in his village knows and talks about his breasts. Some of them refer to him as musambwa (ghost). He has never dated any girl, something which he says bothers him so much and is laughed at by fellow villagers. "It is such a depressing situation. It psychologically tortures me. I feel like running away from my self but I cannot,'' he said. "Children and adults call me all sorts of names. I wonder whether I will ever come to terms with this kind of life," he added. Serugunda who lives with his grandfather said that his breasts have continued growing ever since his childhood. Today, the breasts produce milk. When he runs or digs without putting on a bra, the shirt gets wet with milk. He has to take a bath often so as to wash away the smell of milk. Another common ailment is headache. Despite these complications, Serugunda's other features are those for men. He is strong and muscular. Professor Andrew Marcel Otim, an expert on hormones in Mulago Hospital says that he suspects Serugunda has a tumour in the brain which disrupts production of hormones that control body growth. Tumours are a mass of abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably in the body. They can grow in any part of the body in both young and old, regardless of sex. The exact cause of tumours is not known although in most cases, said Otim, people with cancers are more likely to have tumours. However, most of them are not cancers and do not spread to other parts of the body. Otim said that the tumour in Serugunda's brain could be a type called prolactinoma. Its growth in the brain area suffocates the pituitary gland, a small egg-shaped structure found at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland secretes different types of hormones including the one responsible for growth of breasts called prolactin. This tumour was makes the pituitary produce excess prolactin. Its presence in controlled amounts in men help in body metabolism processes. "Prolactinomas if not treated or surgically removed at early stages can make men develop features like breasts and milk production," Otim said. He said that there was no national survey to determine the prevalence of prolactinomas, although some cases had been treated at Mulago. Sexual dysfunction and impotence in men, reduction in libido in both sexes are common symptoms of the prolactinomas. The tumour may also switch off the ovaries (stop conception and the monthly period) in females while headaches are also common. Otim said that Serugunda still has a chance of being cured if the tumour is removed and the prolactin levels drop. He said that there are many ways of treating the tumour. These include among others giving the patient medicine that can kill the tumour cells, surgery and radiotherapy. Under radiotherapy high energy rays are directed to the tumour and destroy it. However there are some risks involved with this treatment as it may damage the pituitary gland itself and even cause brain cancers. "There is also some subtle personality changes after treatment, a possibility that memory is not as good as it once was, and sometimes increased body weight," he said. Prolactinomas are not hereditary. Ends

Big breasts in men caused by tumours

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