Dong Quai & Breast Cancer in Men

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    Apr 14, 2010 5:35 AM GMT
    I have an education in nutrition, but herbs haven't made it past the scientific method and into government regulation yet, so I know just about as much as anyone could find on them, which is not much. The point of this thread is to report your experiences with the herb if you have taken it (whether alone or part of a complex that happens to have the herb in it, e.g. an iron supplement).

    Since I'm mostly a lacto-ovo-vegetarian these days (reason is it's cheap and I'm still not missing major nutrients if I supplement iron and zinc now and then since B12 is fortified way too well in my cereal and multivitamin), I have been taking an iron supplement that has Dong Quai in it in addition to a ferrochelate form of iron. The chelated form of iron means it will be absorbed better, and I read up on Dong Quai: it is believed to help with iron absorption as well.

    Dong quai mainly seems to be about regulation of menstrual cycles, however.

    Now, understand that I have written 2 papers for school evaluating the current evidence of phytoestrogens in soy and their effect on men (inconclusive evidence that there are adverse effects at all is the summary--and I have been on 25-75g of soy [milk or pure crushed up soybeans] since I was 16).

    However, now I am feeling like a hypochondriac since I felt breast tenderness today and a small lump on the right of my nipple and am wondering if this is from the herb or if I inherited my mother's capacity to get benign lumps near the nipples. It is very small and hardly noticeable, but it is tender and probably half the size of a BB, if that, but it's there. My mom and I don't have the best skin--we are lumpy people, but since she just finished chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, now I'm even more aware of checking for lumps. Furthermore, breast cancer in men is only 1-2% incidence, and with as much lifting as I do, I don't understand how I could possibly develop any sort of tissue around my pecs that could withstand a lump, but low and behold.

    I swear, the doctors are probably getting tired of seeing me at school because of how often I have had to go in this semester (scabies, UTI, and now I'd have to go in for this...)

    Do yall think I should watch it for a few days and see if it goes away?
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    Apr 14, 2010 2:16 PM GMT
    i will happily look at your pecs. icon_wink.gif

    I suspect it may be a case of too much knowledge finding problems, but worth checking out if only to stop you worrying (your Mum´s cancer will have you very much on edge and the stress caused by finding something could actually do damage so it´s worth it).

    Dong quai is one of the chinese herbs that have been "extracted" from the system of chinese medicine by western pharmaceuticals, a procedure which often means that they are used in a totally different way from in Chinese medicine. In TCM is is used to tonify the blood. in western pharm it is used for female issues. I am not sure why you need to be taking it, unless it has been given to you by a TCM doctor.
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    Apr 14, 2010 3:51 PM GMT
    The only reason I am taking it is because it is in the iron supplement I am taking that I bought from HEB. HEB lacked anything that was pure ferrous sulfate, so I "had" to pick up something with an herb in it. I wish I just went to CVS and bought something that only has iron in it, but here it is, the next morning, and I still have a lump on my right areola.
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    Apr 14, 2010 4:14 PM GMT
    bluey2223 saidThe only reason I am taking it is because it is in the iron supplement I am taking that I bought from HEB. HEB lacked anything that was pure ferrous sulfate, so I "had" to pick up something with an herb in it. I wish I just went to CVS and bought something that only has iron in it, but here it is, the next morning, and I still have a lump on my right areola.


    1) How bout going to your doc and asking his opinion on your lump ASAP? That way, you might find that it's any number of other things besides the big C.

    2) Assuming it is a cancer, I'd say your odds of tracing the cause of it, assuming you have every single cancer expert on the planet assigned to your case, is sketchy. You'll just have statistics for an average over a particular study population. None of that will tell you about your particular cellular history and what caused it to occur. It could be that just being born was enuf to bring your cells to the point they are now, and nothing you've eaten since exiting the womb had anything to do with it. Point is, you can worry all you want about any particular trigger, but you'll never really know.

    4) Most cancers take years (even decades) to manifest. How long have you been taking Dong Quai? If it's less than a large number of years, the probability it's responsible for your lump is likely vanishingly low.

    So...

    See the doc ASAP and let us know what's up!
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    Apr 14, 2010 8:16 PM GMT
    seems highly unlikely to be conected, as wana said. Go to the doc, get calmed down.

    Hugs
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    Apr 14, 2010 9:08 PM GMT
    Just to clarify a statistic: you said breast cancer"incidence in men was "1-2%." That sounded pretty high to me; in fact it's closer to .01%. Still higher than I thought, but not very high.
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    Apr 14, 2010 9:08 PM GMT
    Oops, now my mistake. .1%, about one in a thousand over a lifetime.
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    Apr 14, 2010 10:07 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said

    Go to a plastic surgeon if you want the tissue extracted and biopsied. This can be done and you want to see someone who will not botch you up and leave you hideously scared. So don't go to a general surgeon. That body you created is just too pretty to gouge up by someone who will not take that into consideration. icon_smile.gif


    I second that. My back looks like Freddie Krueger's asshole because a general surgeon hacked me up like a pet food grade side of meat retrieving multiple biopsy samples. They will fucking butcher you. See a plastic surgeon.
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    Apr 14, 2010 11:59 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidYou may simply be developing gynecomastia. This is a benign enlargement of tissue in the chest for men.

    Personally I don't touch soy. You may be well informed but I've heard too many problems with soy products. I do believe it mimics estrogen in the body. And although Asia may not have as many problems with hormone based cancers (breast, prostate, etc.) they also don't eat the amount of other foods that we consume. I am just theorizing but perhaps the combination of our heavily meat based American diet, combined with dairy and wheat could also play a role when it comes to adding soy to one's diet.

    Go to a plastic surgeon if you want the tissue extracted and biopsied. This can be done and you want to see someone who will not botch you up and leave you hideously scared. So don't go to a general surgeon. That body you created is just too pretty to gouge up by someone who will not take that into consideration. icon_smile.gif


    I swear I have never ever done steroids or taken any supplements that are not Vitamin D, fish oil, Centrum Multivitamin, glucosamine and chondroitin, and recently iron and zinc, the iron which has dong quai. I don't see how I could be developing gynecomastia because that's a side effect of steroid abuse.

    Thanks for the tip about the plastic surgeon though, I will do that if they decide to biopsy it.

    I still don't believe there is any connection to soy. My mom and I are very lumpy people. My acne was nodular as a teen (and sitll is on my upper back and can get very inflamed when I sweat), and I can get huge boils where I sit more often than I'd like to say.
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    Apr 29, 2010 6:27 AM GMT
    So, the lump went away after about 3-4 days. I think it was a lymph node behind my nipple, if that is possible..or perhaps my areola chilled out.