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AMA Adopts New Policies at Annual Meeting

For immediate release
June 15, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest physician group, voted today at its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new policies.

Breast cancer in men: The AMA passed policy today that recognizes breast cancer as a condition that affects males as well as females and supports education about the risks, signs, and symptoms of male breast cancer. The AMA also supports insurance coverage for male breast cancer monitoring and diagnostic methods. Risk factors for male breast cancer include genetic predisposition, alterations to the estrogen-testosterone ratio, radiation exposure, and occupational hazards.

"Male breast cancer is rare, but it tends to be diagnosed at later stages," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, MD. "Heightened awareness of the increased risk in certain men may result in earlier detection of male breast cancer. Clinical breast examinations are effective at evaluating breast cancer symptoms, but mammography may also help."

Use of hormones for anti-aging procedures: Despite the widespread promotion of hormones for anti-aging, the scientific evidence to support these claims is lacking. In some cases, evidence suggests that long-term use of a particular hormone has more risks than benefits. Hormones reviewed by AMA include human growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogens with and without progestins.

Today, the AMA passed policy to inform physicians, policy makers and the public of the current scientific evidence on the use of hormones for anti-aging. Proponents of any hormone or other substance for anti-aging have the responsibility to prove that claims are scientifically valid.

"The AMA wants patients to know the risks and benefits of hormones promoted to reduce the signs of aging," said AMA Board Member Steven Stack, MD. "Patients should weigh the risks and benefits and base their decisions on scientifically valid information."


For additional information, please contact:

Leah Dudowicz
AMA Media Relations
(312) 464-4813