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News presenter: Welcome back to WBRZ news 2 at 4:00. Dr. Anthony Stephens is here and we’re talking about smoking marijuana and the possibility of it causing …
Anthony Stephens: Gynecomastia.
News presenter: Gynecomastia.
Anthony Stephens: It is the affinization of the breast in males. There are a lot of folklore with that, a lot of controversy, whether or not marijuana really does cause affinization or increase breast size, but it certainly it is out there and most physicians believe that there is some link, and a lot of plastic surgeons believe that there is a link as well between increased breast size and smoking marijuana. So, if you are male you do have problems with increased breast size and you are smoking marijuana, it is probably best that you would stop that in order not to have increased breast size. But gynecomastia or feminization of the male breast is a big problem, a common problem that we see all the time, not just in adolescence but also in older males. Gynecomastia can be caused by a lot of different reasons. One: marijuana that we think there is very little scientific evidence, but there are some studies that show that the increase in estrogen, that can have an increase in breasts size; medication, such as Tagamet and some of the anti-ulcer medication as well, as so many hypertensives can also cause, you know, enlargement of breasts, but we have to make a distinction between gynecomastia which is the feminization of the breast and just increase breast size, right? So if you have just the increase in the size of the gland, which is gynecomastia, or the overall breast size which can be related to just an increase in fat and weight gain. And so we have to make sure that we have the correct diagnosis, because there are other things that can cause masses of the breast, like breast cancer in males, although it’s very rare, one person at a time. You have to make sure that we don’t have that problem as well, or other hormonal factors in different problems. So, first of all: diagnosis, and then we can go into treatment.
News presenter: Ok and the reason why you brought this up today is because there was a study in the New York Times.
Anthony Stephens: New York to actual Times magazine.
News presenter: Oh, I’m sorry, Time magazine.
Anthony Stephens: They brought the study out and it reported on the use of marijuana and gynecomastia and it’s a very almost folklore that there is a lot of scientific evidence between marijuana smoking and the relationship to gynecomastia and it was reported widely about this in a lot of controversy and a lot of things back on Facebook, it was kind of humorous as for the marijuana and gynecomastia were related at all.
News presenter: So how do you see this?
Anthony Stephens: It is very common. I see it in all ages, kids that are in their 14-years today, almost 70% of adolescents will have an issue with their breasts. Most of it will go away with time, but the first thing we do is to make sure they don’t have any problems with the disorders and then allow time to settle that out. Most of it does, but men have it later on their life and it’s a big problem for them. What we intend to do is liposuction as a tool to correct some of that increase with some of the fat around the breast, as well as removing or reducing the gland, which helps in a significant way.
News presenter: How or what’s the time period from when you start, if a person, if a patient is smoking marijuana and when does it start?
Anthony Stephens: Well, you see it all over, there’s very few studies that actually show that, because it’s an illegal substance. Like, well, now that we’re seeing it more and legal in some states, so perhaps we’ll see more studies. But before we don’t have a whole lot of studies that show a true relationship between the two and so we don’t really know when smoking marijuana would affect breast size. We know that it can have effects on estrogen and the increasing estrogen can have an increase in breast size. So, I can’t answer the question as to time, when it will affect you.
News presenter: Maybe eventually we can.
Anthony Stephens: Maybe you can.
News presenter: Thanks, Dr. Stephens for coming, we appreciate it. You’re watching WBRZ News 2 at 4:00, we’ll be right back.