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Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. Mainly it occurs in females but less than 1% of all the breast cancer cases develop in males. The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. It can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs and to the brain.
With more reliable early detection methods as well as the trend towards less invasive surgery, there is hope that even more women with breast cancer will be treated successfully and will go on to resume their normal lives.
Signs & Symptoms
It is painless, especially, during the early stage. Watch out for the following changes in the breast:
- A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the axilla.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A change in the colour or appearance of the skin of the breast such as redness, puckering or dimpling.
- Bloody discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the nipple or areola such as scaliness, persistent rash or nipple retraction (nipple pulled into the breast).
Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.
Being a woman puts you at risk of getting breast cancer. There are certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of them have been listed below:
- The risk increases with age; most cases of breast cancer develop after the age of 50
- Genetic alterations in certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of breast cancer
- Being overweight
- Early menarche (onset of menstruation before the age of 12)
- Late menopause (after the age of 55)
- Never had children
- Late childbearing
- No breast feeding
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for a long period of time
However, most women who have breast cancer have none of the above risk factors. Likewise, not having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.
Early Detection and Screening
More treatment options are available when breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and hence the chances of recovery is also higher. So regular breast screening is important for early detection even if there are no symptoms. Following are the ways of screening:
- Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Perform BSE once a month about a week after your menses are over. If you no longer menstruate, choose a date each month which is easy to remember e.g. your date of birth or anniversary.
- Clinical Breast Examination: Get a breast specialist to examine your breast once a year if you are 40 years and above.
- Mammogram: Go for a screening mammogram once a year if you are 40 to 49 years old and once every two years if you are 50 years and above even if you do not have any symptom. It is not recommended for younger women (less than 40 years of age) as they have dense breasts, making it difficult for small changes to be detected on a mammogram. So ultrasonography of the breasts is advisable to them.
Types of Breast cancer
- Non-Invasive Breast cancer: These are confined to the ducts within the breasts. They are known as Ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).
- Invasive Breast cancer: It occurs when cancer cells spread beyond the ducts or lobules. Cancer cells first spread to the surrounding breast tissue and subsequently to the lymph nodes in the armpit (Axillary lymph nodes). These cells can also travel to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs or brain and hence known as metastatic breast cancer.
Making A Diagnosis
If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, you should see a doctor immediately. He will examine you clinically and may ask you to undergo some tests so that a definitive diagnosis can be made. Further, the staging work up is done to find out the stage of the disease and management accordingly.
Treatment of breast cancer may include various methods such as surgery with or without breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Treatment options offered, depend upon the number of factors such as the stage of cancer and likelihood of cure, your general health and your preference. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Hi doctor. I have a severe backache as per Dr. Advice I have done mri. My mri report is as under kindly advise in matter degenerative lumber spondylitis are seen in the form of marginal osteophytes and multilevel disc dessication. 1. D12-l1 & l1-l2 discs show mild bulge, indenting anterior thecal sac without significant never root compression 2. L2-l3 disc reveals right paracentral disc extrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing right lateral recess narrowing, impinging on right traversing l3 nerve root. 3. L3-l4 disc shows mild diffuse disc protrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing, minimally abutting bilateraltraversing l4 nerve roots. 4. L4-l5 disc reveals mild diffuse disc protrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing, minimally abutting right existing l4 nerve root-bilateral traversing l5 nerve roots. Nerve roots. Cord is seen ending at d11 vertebral level. Distal cord and conus appear normal. Both hip and si joints are normal. No pre / paravertebral, epidural soft tissue or haematoma is seen. Bilateral psoas and posterior paraspinous muscles are normal. Please advise for home exercise / medicine.?
I am 33 years old, I have backache from last 1 year, x ray indicate there is borderline slip disk, what kind of precaution can I take for future?
L4-l5 and l5-s1 between disk problems years-44-women. Please give advise operation after disk moving
We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here’s what you should look out for.
- Pain in Bones: Pain is one the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify ‘cancer’ as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
- Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
- Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
- Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should conduct a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The symptoms caused due to herniated disc can be very severe and can also cause a bit of disability. The disc of the spine is like a cushion and separates the set of bones on the backside. The discs are shock absorbers of the spine and are mainly composed of 2 parts, a soft jelly centre called the nucleus and a tough outer covering called the annulus.
Effects of Herniated Disc
A herniated or cracked disc is a severe condition and it seems to happen most commonly in the lower back. It happens when a fraction of the soft centre gets pushed through the destabilized area due to degeneration, trauma or by putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Nerves are located precisely at the back of every disc and are responsible for controlling everything in our body. While a disc gets herniated, the external covering of the disc tears and creates a bulge. The soft jelly gets shifted from the centre of the disc to the region where the damage has occurred on the disc. Most commonly, the bulge occurs in areas where the nerve is located and it causes strain on the affected nerve. It has been observed that individuals do not feel any painful sensations even if their disc gets damaged.
When is Surgery Recommended for Herniated Disc?
Surgery for herniated disc is recommended only after options like pain relievers, exercise and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs do not work. If the pain persists even after these options, then it becomes important to go for surgery. There are certain risks involved in this surgery like infection, bleeding or nerve damage.
There are chances that the disc may get ruptured again if it is not removed. If you are a patient suffering from degenerative disc disease, then there are chances that problem occurs in other discs. It is very important that a patient maintains healthy weight to prevent any further complications.
The main factor that increases the risk of herniated disc is excess body weight, which causes a lot of stress on the lower back. A few people become heir to a tendency of developing this condition. Even individuals with physically demanding jobs are prone to this condition.
Surgery for herniated disc is recommended only after options like pain relievers, exercise and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs do not work. If the pain persists even after these options, then, needs to be removed as steroid injections is not advisable per se.
Activities like bending sideways, pushing, twisting, repetitive lifting can increase the risk of a herniated disc. At times, emergency surgery is also required to avoid paralysis in a patient. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Does Knuckle breaking at neck at regular intervals when I'm feel stressed, will that leads to an disk injury or any problems in future. Usually I keep doing that when I work out in gym.
Breast cancer awareness
October is breast cancer awareness month and a great time to highlight the importance of maintaining healthy habits to support breast health. One disease that most women fear these days, you would probably reply" breast cancer.
Understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk. So follow these guidelines and know that you are doing all that you possibly can to protect yourself from developing breast cancer. Be thankful every day that your breasts are healthy.
Check your own breasts regularly. Do monthly self-breast examinations after your period is over. If you find any lumps or tenderness that concerns you, have it checked out right away. Fortunately, 80% of breast lumps are benign. When you examine your breasts, remember that lumps which are soft, movable, and change with your menstrual cycle are much less likely to be cancerous. Any discharge from the nipple other than breast milk should be checked out by your health professional.
Get regular mammograms. In a woman without breast symptoms and with no significant risk of breast cancer, I recommend mammograms beginning age 35 or 40 every two years. For women without breast symptoms who are at higher risk of breast cancer, I recommend yearly mammograms beginning at age 35. Beginning at age 50, the rate of breast cancer goes up, so yearly mammograms are advised.
Limit alcohol intake. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.
Get to and maintain a healthy weight - if your bmi is out of the healthy range, find a program and tools to help you get to a healthy weight, which is important for maintaining health in general, including breast health. Obesity, particularly after menopause, can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer. Aim for gradual weight loss by choosing minimally processed foods and eating smaller portions.
Don't smoke - accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in pre -menopausal women.
Exercise regularly - physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer.
Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy - if you're taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You might be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications.
Choose the right supplements - filling in nutrition gaps with supplements can help you support breast health. Look for options that contain vitamin d and omega-3 fatty acids, as they have both been associated with maintaining breast health.
Breast-feed your babies for as long as possible - women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.
Kidney cancer or renal cancer is when kidney cells grow uncontrollably and form a tumour. Kidney cancer often begins in the tubules (tiny tubes in the kidneys). The prognosis may depend on the stage of the kidney cancer.
Different Stages of Kidney Cancer
The TNM system helps to categorize each stage of the kidney cancer.
Tumour (T) – Describes the size and location of the tumour.
Node (N) – Describes the spread of cancer to lymph nodes.
Metastatis (M) – Describes the spread of cancer to other body parts.
These results combined with the five stages (0 and 1 to 4) can help to identify the right treatment option for every patient. Zero stage describes no cancer presence. For instance –
Stage 1 – Here the tumour is confined to kidneys and its size is smaller than 7 centimetres. (T1 or T1, N0, M0)
Stage 2 – Here the tumour is confined to kidneys and its size is more than 7 centimetres. (T2)
Stage 3 – Here the tumour is in kidneys or blood vessels or fatty tissues but also a lymph node; cancer spreads to major veins but doesn’t extend beyond renal or Gerota’s fascia (connective tissues surrounding adrenal glands and kidneys). (T3)
Stage 4 – Here the cancer is in the fatty tissues surrounding kidneys and adjacent lymph nodes; has spread to other nearby organs and beyond renal fascia. (T4)
Treatment and management of kidney cancer
Once your doctor has determined the staging of your kidney cancer, a treatment plan can be formulated for you.
- Simple nephrectomy removes the affected kidney.
- Radical nephrectomy is a common surgery for kidney cancer. It removes all affected parts such as the kidneys, adrenal gland, lymph nodes and surrounding tissues.
- Partial nephrectomy is for small tumours and removes the kidneys and the surrounding tissues.
- Interventional radiology: This is a surgery aided by real-time images. An advanced surgery using a nano knife is minimally-invasive and is effective for inoperable kidney tumours.
- Targeted therapy: Drugs target specific tumour cells and destroy them.
- Immunotherapy: Used for kidney cancer that has spread to other organs, this therapy may use different types of drugs to either help immune cells find cancer growth or regulate the immune system activity to stop or slow cancer growth.
- Arterial embolization: It is a procedure to stop blood supply to the kidney tumour, in order to shrink it in size prior to surgery.
- Cryotherapy: This procedure involves using extreme cold to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is not very effective for treating kidney cancer. Talk to your doctor about all possible treatment options for your cancer. You can lower your risk of kidney cancer by eating healthy, maintaining your ideal body weight and managing your blood pressure.