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Old 11-20-2007, 06:11 AM
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Default Osteoporosis, Breast Cancer, and Eating Disorders: Not Just for Women

Osteoporosis, Breast Cancer, and Eating Disorders: Not Just for Women

Seymour, 70, noticed a patch of what looked like blood on his pajama top three years ago and thought he had cut himself. But he wasn't scratched. His doctor tested the discharge and told the New Jersey man he had breast cancer.

Dan, also 70, a retired Michigan engineer, was pulling weeds three years ago. For no apparent reason, he fractured two vertebrae. Doctors told him his bones were wasting away. He has Osteoporosis.

As a teenager, Gary was obsessed with having a trim, "athletic" body. The Wisconsin resident shunned food and exercised excessively. Sometimes he'd do situps and pushups for three hours before school. He ate little and shrank from 160 to an unhealthy 104 pounds. Over a six-year period, he was hospitalized four times. Now 26, Gary says he is "completely recovered" from his eating disorder.

What do these men have in common? They all suffer from illnesses typically thought of as "women's diseases." Breast cancer, osteoporosis, and eating disorders all occur in men, too, though their prevalence is much greater in the female population. As a result, many men, unaware that the diseases affect both sexes, may fail to recognize symptoms. Likewise, doctors and families often don't suspect these illnesses. This can delay therapy and make disorders difficult to treat.

Medical experts say men may shy away from seeking medical treatment for disorders they feel are unmasculine. In support groups, men use terms like "very scared" and "ashamed" to describe initial feelings about their illnesses. Others express frustration at the difficulty in finding information and therapy.

Never be afraid or ashamed to see a doctor when something is not
normal with your body.
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