Research Gives new Insight into Male Breast Cancer

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January 20th, 2015

The results of a study entitled EORTC10085/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG, conducted by the International Male Breast Cancer Program was recently presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. This research gives us new insight into the male form of this disease. In fact, the presenters said that male survival rate from such cancer has improved significantly, while female breast cancer has not seen the same dramatic rise in treatment outcomes. 1,822 male participants who underwent breast cancer treatment between 1990 and 2010 took part in this study. Breast cancer in men is rare, affecting less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses in the gender. Though not common, it is often deadly. Almost 25% of diagnosed cases in 2013 were terminal. What’s more, medical science doesn’t know a lot about male breast cancer, yet. In fact, no randomized clinical trials existed previous to this study. Researchers discovered that male breast cancer was far different than the female variety. Though it is dangerous, investigators found that the male kind was also less well managed.

Shirtless man suffering a heart attack

Though research shows that many men would benefit from a type of hormone therapy, only 77% received it. Just over 50% of men were found to have tumors which were very small. Yet, only 4% received breast-conserving surgery. Most had mastectomies which can seriously affect a patient’s quality of life, sexuality and self-esteem. Researchers now know that 99% of male breast cancer patients should be receptive to hormone therapy. Radiation therapy may also be beneficial in the later stages of the disease. During the next leg of this research project, an international male breast cancer registry will be set up. For 30 months all participating medical organizations will submit data to the registry. Prospective participants can also be culled from these lists. If you are a man who finds an unusual lump in the breast tissue, itchiness, pain, swollen glands or a growth or discoloration in that area, have a physician take a look at it. Though many men feel upset or ashamed if they find out they have breast cancer, the earlier the disease it caught the better the treatment options and outcomes. You can survive a gentle ribbing from friends and colleagues, but not cancer. The truth is you won’t believe how many people will be understanding and supportive of your condition.

Trials Begin for New Male birth Control

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January 20th, 2015

Men’s role in birth control is generally rather limited. There are condoms of course. But many long-term monogamous couples don’t like to use them. They can be uncomfortable, fumbled with in the throes of passion and easily misused or broken. A vasectomy is another male option. Many men are squeamish about the idea, though it doesn’t hurt that bad. In fact, it’s only same day surgery. Still, it is a bit pricier and far more permanent. Meanwhile, many women don’t like the hormonal changes that come with the birth control pill, long-term. An IUD irritates some women. But now a nonprofit called The Parsemus Foundation is beginning new trials for an innovative method of birth control focused on the male side of the equation.  This is a nonprofit organization which seeks “low cost solutions” the big drug companies aren’t interested in.  The technique they are using has been called a liquid vasectomy. It is non-invasive, cost effective and easily reversible.

Male-birth-control-shot

The doctor injects a gel into the vas deferens. These are two tubules that supply sperm with semen from the testes before exiting the body. These sperm cannot pass through the gel, eliminating their ability to reach and fertilize the egg. To reverse it, another liquid is injected into the same area, dissolving the polymer. The product is now in pre-clinical trials. Three male baboons have received the procedure. Each had access to between 10 and 15 females. Researchers have reported that despite ample mating, none of the females has gotten pregnant. This product does nothing against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) however, such as HIV. It should only be used by disease-free monogamous couples in a long-term relationship.  If all goes well, “vasalgel” as it is called will be available by 2017. Pharmaceutical companies meanwhile may be worried about their profits from the birth control pill going once this product hits the market.

How to pleasure breasts during sex – a guide for EVERY heterosexual man!

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January 16th, 2015

Most men are fascinated by breasts and cannot help staring (sometimes very blatantly) or fondling them during intercourse. For men, breasts are a fun thing to play with – they often snuggle their faces in a woman’s cleavage or press them too hard or even slap them at times. There are even several terms for a woman’s breasts – boobs, knockers, jugs, balloons, etc. But most women would agree that they do not like the way their breasts are handled by their lovers. If you are a guy, let us tell you, women do not like their breasts being abused!  To make things easier and more pleasurable, here’s a guide every heterosexual man should read on how to caress breasts the right way.

Breast basics

Breasts are one of the most sensitive parts of a woman’s body and even a light touch can have varied reactions. Just your fingers are enough to pleasure them if you know the right way to use them.

The nipples are the most responsive to touch and you can do a lot by stroking them, gently fondling them or even licking them. Every woman has different levels of sensitivity and you need to gauge it to apply pressure accordingly.

You don’t always need to press them too hard as they contain milk glands and sensitive tissues which need to be dealt with care. Rough handling can cause pain more than pleasure and also alter their appearance.

Techniques to pleasure breasts

We know guys cannot keep their hands off breasts but it is important to keep in mind that they are not inanimate toys. So use these techniques to make your woman go wild with pleasure.

Firstly, don’t just grab them the moment you start foreplay, let your fingers gently touch the skin around the nipples and the surrounding areas. Once the nipples harden, you can stroke them to pleasure her more.

Don’t forget to look at your woman’s face to gauge her reaction. This will not just help you understand how much she likes it or if she’s not into it and also it will not let her feel that you love her breasts more than her (even if it may be the truth).

You can cup her breasts from behind while kissing her on her neck. This is ideal for women with big breasts as your hand may not be able to cover the entire area. After you cup them, gently run your fingers or even hand around the entire breast to arouse her more. You can gently press on the nipple using your index finger and massage in circular motion to harden them.

If your woman has small to medium sized breasts (or if you have big hands), you can squeeze them while facing them. Do not press too hard at first. Gently massage the breasts in circular fashion with your hands and then squeeze them harder. Watch her reaction to know if you should intensify the pressure or continue with the same.

Make her shriek with joy by teasing her nipples. You can wet your finger with your saliva (or even use an ice cube) and gently graze it on her nipples. Next, gently blow on them for a cool effect. Another technique is to directly lick them with your tongue and then blow air on them with your mouth. Alternate between these two and see her go wild.

Once she starts enjoying this, you can suck on the nipples too. While you are sucking on one nipple, place your hand on the other breast and keep massaging it. Then move on to the other one. When you suck on nipples, blood rushes to the area which makes them even more sensitive. This will make the act more pleasurable for her as well.

breast-pleasure

So the next time you have sex with your partner, make sure you apply this techniques and make her have a breastgasm!

With inputs from the book ‘How To Have A XXX Sex Life’. 

Image source: Getty Images

Dry, tight and warm – the dangerous practice of dry sex

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January 16th, 2015

While most women and men welcome a well lubricated vagina during sex, some women are purposely drying them out – to please their men. We take a look at the why, where and how of dry sex.

When a woman’s body gets ready for sex, the vaginal glands secrete a fluid that acts as a lubricant. This is a necessary process that protects her delicate private parts, and also readies her vagina for penetration, making it easier for her partner to insert his penis.

Lack of sufficient lubrication is a problem for many women, especially those who experience arousal problemswomen on certain medications or those going through the menopause as it can make intercourse quite painful (for both man and woman) and cause tearing, inflammation and irritation while destroying the natural bacteria.

Curiously, some women (primarily from more traditional societies) are going against their bodies’ natural instincts and are resorting to extreme measures to prevent lubrication and keep their vaginas bone dry and, thereby, ‘tighter’ and ‘warmer’.

According to the US-based Guttmacher Institute that researches sexual and reproductive health across the globe “vaginal drying” appears to be most common among African (South Africa, Senegal, DRC, Cameroon, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe) and Indonesian women, although it also occurs in Haiti, Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia.

Despite the pain that accompanies dry sex, men and women from these communities believe that a dry vagina adds friction and tightness during intercourse, making it more enjoyable – for men.

In a report for the Guttmacher Institute, author Karen E. Kun writes that ”In South Africa, men have reported that vaginal wetness during sexual intercourse is an indicator of a woman’s infidelity, and have also associated vaginal lubrication with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the use of contraceptives.’

Dr Marlene Wasserman, better known in South Africa as sexologist Dr Eve, told Vice the continued practice of dry sex shows the lack of education relating to equality and women’s rights. She also mentions that in some traditional households a woman’s reputation depends on the size of her vagina, which they then hope to tighten by drying the vagina out.

According to Wasserman these men and women don’t understand that the vagina is capable of expanding during sex – and then back to its usual size afterwards. They also believe that if a woman has a partner with a large penis, her vagina will remain permanently ‘stretched’, and future partners will think she is promiscuous.

From a male perspective, the experience is not necessarily more appealing. Men’s Health, in a report on painful sexual habits, noted that a dry vagina can make penetration not only more difficult but also more painful, causing a burning sensation and redness. It is possible for the delicate tissues of the penis to tear, further increasing the likelihood of transmitting an STI.

Methods used to dry out the vagina

dry

Some women in Indonesia avoid foods such as pineapple and cucumber, which are believed to induce vaginal lubrication, while others go as far as to insert dry rags into their vagina, wash with herbs or insert chalk, leaves, stones or sand to achieve their desired dryness. Some of the agents cause the vaginal walls to swell, which contributes to the feeling of tightness.

Some women also douche with detergents, antiseptics, alcohol or bleach. Tissues, toilet paper or powders may also be stuffed into the vagina to dry it out.

More recently Daily Sun and City Press have both reported that women in Mpumalanga and Botshabelo in the Free State have been buying a confectionary called Çhina Fruit from Chinese vendors. The ingredients in these sweets include prune powder, citric acid, salt, sugar and flavouring. Desperate women spend inordinate amounts of money on the sweets, believing that they help to tighten the vagina, though experts say it may be purely all in the mind.

Lovematters reported that women in Java, Indonesia, crouch over burning herbs to ‘smoke out’ their vaginas while Dutch scientist Tinde van Andel explains that Maroon women in Suriname frequently use genital steam baths that contain tightening and drying herbs.

Why dry sex is dangerous

The risks, however, are very serious. Using any substance that interferes with the pH levels of the vagina can result in a much higher chance of contracting vaginal infections, while “dry sex” also has serious health consequences. Research by Van Andel  has shown that dry sex damages the epithelium of the vagina and can lead to lacerations, inflammations, and the suppression of the vagina’s natural bacteria, all of which increase the likelihood of infection with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Because lubrication is needed when a condom is used during sex, the absence thereof often contributes to the condom tearing.

Safer ways to achieve tighter penetration

Health24′s sexologist, Dr. Marelize Swart, advises couples to rather explore different positions to aid with tightness and friction during intercourse. And don’t forget the Kegel exercises!

1Tummies down


Image: Cosmopolitan

The lady lies down on her stomach, keeping her legs straight. The man, also on his stomach, lies down on top of her and stretches his body over hers, with his legs positioned on the outside of hers.
2. Lady-Frog


Image: Pinterest

The man sits on the edge of the bed, with his feet on the ground. The woman squats before him on the edge of the bed with her back to him (like a frog).

3. Seated Ball

Image: Pinterest

The woman crouches, while the man enters her from a half-sitting position behind her.

For more on sexual health, post a question to our sexologist or visit our sex centre.

Image source: loving couple, Shutterstock



Sources: TimesliveThisisafrica, Guttmacher Institute, Science Direct

What You Should Know about Men’s Sexual Health

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January 12th, 2015

Written By: Christina Johnson

Anyone who watches professional sports on TV is bombarded with commercials dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED).

But despite what the ads may lead one to believe, men’s sexual health issues are more complicated than simply taking a pill and “letting the dance begin.” Men do have a biological clock. They do experience age-related hormonal changes, and there are good medical reasons not to ignore ED, even when it responds to medication.

Here are some facts about men’s sexual health that may surprise avid sports fans, Cosmoand GQ readers alike, all vetted by Mike Hsieh MD, program director of UC San Diego’sMale Fertility and Sexual Health Program, the region’s only medical center with a specific focus on male fertility issues.

ED is an early sign of cardiovascular disease

ED is an early marker for vascular problems. This is one reason why your primary care physician may – and should – ask you about your sex life. It’s a way to detect potential heart issues.

“Many men come to my office to talk about ED and they leave with a referral to one of our cardiologists,” Hsieh said.

Why is ED a risk factor for heart attack? Simple geometry: The penile artery is one-tenth the diameter of coronary arteries. The narrower tube is likely to clog before larger arteries in the heart.

Obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and hypertension put men at higher risk of ED and also heart disease. “They really are the same problem, just different parts of the body,” Hsieh said.

One study, published in the Journal of Urology, found that approximately 75 percent of men with chronic coronary artery disease had ED.

Men and women are equally likely to have fertility issues

Not too long ago, men were believed to be fertile forever (practically), but that’s not true.

“A 50-year-old man is not as fertile as a 30-year-old. That’s the take home message,” said Hsieh, who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Urology.

Advanced paternal age is associated with lower sperm counts and lower sperm quality, and increases a couple’s chances of having a child with genetic problems, he said.

Besides issues related to aging, men may have anatomical blockages, hormonal imbalances or genetic problems that can lower sperm counts, impair sperm motility or cause dysfunctional sperm shape.

Testosterone supplements are birth control for men

Locker room jokes about the anatomical disparities of body builders can have a real scientific basis.

“Testosterone therapy tells a man’s body it can shut down,” Hsieh said. “It gets lazy.”

The brain monitors testosterone levels and when it detects adequate amounts of the hormone, it directs the testicles to go on vacation. This halts sperm production.

“Giving a man testosterone is like giving him birth control,” Hsieh said. If a man is in his 50s or 60s, the fertility issues surrounding testosterone therapy are likely irrelevant, but for younger men who want a family, doctors should identify why there is a hormonal imbalance. Certain medications, including antibiotics and cancer drugs, can reduce testosterone production. In rare cases, low testosterone can also be the result of a brain tumor.

Food for thought: Male athletes who have taken performance enhancing drugs do not necessarily regain their full fertility after they stop taking the drugs. There can be permanent damage to a man’s sperm production.

Vasectomies are reversible

A vasectomy is surgical sterilization, but it is not permanent. A man still makes sperm after a vasectomy and if it has been less than ten years since the procedure there’s a 95 percent chance that the spaghetti-sized tubing (vas deferens) that was cut or clamped can be reconnected.

vasectomy reversal is done under a microscope with sutures as fine as eye lashes. “It’s like sewing pasta together,” said Hsieh, who is an expert on the procedure.

“Manopause” is real

Men don’t get hot flashes, but they do experience age-related declines in sex hormones that mirror female menopause. Andropause usually begins as men approach middle age in the 40s and beyond.

“Every man goes through andropause,” Hsieh said. “But symptoms vary. Some men experience irritability, fatigue, weight gain, low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Some don’t.”

Both male and female sex hormone levels diminish with age in men, and lowered estrogen levels can contribute to health problems, such as osteoporosis. The symptoms most men notice and complain about are usually associated with lower testosterone levels.

Testosterone therapy, however, poses its own set of health risks, including acne, balding, blood thickening and urinary dysfunction caused by an enlarged prostate. New studies show testosterone may also elevate a man’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

“We are starting to recognize the risks of hormone replacement in men,” said Hsieh.

Bottom line: Aging happens. Men who go on testosterone therapy should make sure they are closely monitored for potentially serious side effects.

male_bio_clock

Almost all forms of cancer treatment can have sexual side effects

Chemotherapy impairs sperm production because the treatment, by design, target cells with robust replication rates, such as hair follicles and sperm cells. Meanwhile, surgery or radiation, especially in the pelvic region, can damage nerves or alter blood supply to reproductive organs. The stress of cancer itself can also cause hormonal imbalances, which may hinder sexual function and fertility.

“We recommend fertility preservation for all men and women who have been diagnosed with cancer and want to have children,” Hsieh said. For men, fertility preservation involves freezing sperm or testicular tissue.