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Cancer is the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in a particular body part. With continued growth, pieces of this tissue travel through the blood to different body parts and continue to grow in the new area. This is known as metastases. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and affects about 1 in 8 women in the USA. Read on to know more details of breast cancer – breast anatomy, causes, symptoms, risk factors, detection, prevention, and of course treatment.
Anatomy: The main function of the breast is lactation through its milk-producing tissue that are connected to the nipple by narrow ducts. In addition, there is surrounding connective tissue, fibrous material, fat, nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic channels which complete the structure. This is essential to know as most breast cancers develop as small calcifications (hardened particles) in the ducts or as small lumps in the breast tissue which then continues to grow into cancer. The spread can happen through lymphatic or blood flow to other organs.
Warning signs/symptoms: The following are some symptoms that need to be watched out for if you have a predisposition to breast cancer.
- A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
- Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
- Redness of your breast or nipple
- Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
- Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
- Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
- One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
- Hardened area under the breast skin
Either one or a combination of these should be an indication to get a detailed checkup done. Early diagnosis results in controlling the disease with minimal treatment and reduced complications.
Causes and risk factors: The exact cause for breast cancer is yet to be pinned down. However, risk factors are clearly identified, and women with risk factors need to watch out for warning signs.
- Family history: Of all the risk factors, the family history is the most important. Breast cancer runs in families, and if there is a first-degree relative with the breast cancer, the chances of developing it are almost double. Two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the carriers of the disease, and this testing can be done in women to identify if they are at risk.
- Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
- Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
- Hormones: Greater exposure to the female hormone estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Women who use birth control pills for contraception and hormone replacement after menopause are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones need to watch out. These include those who attain menarche before 12 years of age, get pregnant after 30, attain menopause after 55, and have menstrual cycles shorter than 26 days or longer than 29 days.
- Obesity and alcohol abuse are also likely to increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
Stages: Starting from stage 0, higher stages indicate advanced disease.
- Stage 0: The growth which has begun in the milk-producing tissue or the ducts has remained there (in situ) and not spread to any other area, including the rest of the breast.
- Stage I: The tissue slowly becomes invasive and has begun to affect the surrounding healthy tissue. It could have spread to the fatty breast tissue and some breast tissue may be found in the nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
- Stage III: It may have spread to the bones or other organs but small amounts are present in up to 9 to 10 of the lymph nodes in the armpits and collar bones which makes it is difficult to fight.
- Stage IV: The cancer is widespread to far-flung areas like the liver, lungs, bones, and even the brain.
Screening: This is one of the most effective ways to identify the disease in its early stages. This will help in controlling cancer from spreading with minimal treatment.
- Self-examination: A thorough self-examination to look for changes in terms of shape, size, colour, contour, and firmness should be learned by all women. Watch for any discharge, sores, rashes, or swelling in the breasts, surrounding skin, and nipple. Examine them while standing and when lying down.
- In most women, annual screening mammograms are advised after the age of 40. However, in women who have a strong family history or genetic makeup, it is advisable to have screening mammograms starting at age 20 every 3 years and then annually from the age of 40.
- Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
- Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
- Breast MRI is another way to screen for breast cancer if the risk is greater.
Breast Cancer Prevention: Now that there is so much awareness about causes and risk factors, there are definitely ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
- Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
- Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
- In high-risk women, breasts are surgically removed to prevent the development of cancer (preventive mastectomy).
Treatment: As with all cancers, treatment would depend on the stage at which it is identified and include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As noted earlier, if you are at risk, look out for warning signs as early diagnosis is the key to maximum recovery.
I am male aged 57 years. In 1998, I had l4-l5 disc prolapse. After getting treatment for 5 years I was alright. But now since last 3 years, my calf muscles have become very stiff, unable to walk freely, developed gait problem (body disbalance) and sleeplessness. Presently I am using ropark 1 mg. Tab. Every night, but of no much help. Please Advise.
Uterine fibroids, also referred to as uterine myomas) are non-cancerous tumors that grow within the muscle tissue of the uterus. As many as 20% to 50% women between the age group of 18 to 40 suffer from the condition, but not all cases warrant treatment.
It may be as tiny as a coin or it may grow to the size of a watermelon, making people think the lady is 6/7 months pregnant! There may be one big fibroid or several small ones.
Though the exact causes are not known, family history and hormonal imbalances are said to be the main causes for the same.
Types of Uterine Fibroids
The four types are:
- Subserosal uterine fibroids: Develops outside the uterus and continues to grow.
- Intramural uterine fibroids: The most common type that lead to pregnancy like tummy. They develop within the uterus wall and continue to expand.
- Submucosal uterine fibroids: Because these develop within the uterus lining, they are most likely to be the cause of heavy flow during periods.
- Pedunculated uterine fibroids: These grow on the inner or outer side of a small stalk connecting to the uterus.
- An enlarged uterus is the most common symptom. It is often mistaken for general weight gain or pregnancy.
- Prolonged and painful menstrual cycle, that is many times irregular.
- Urinary incontinence and constant urge to urinate.
- Pelvic pressure.
- Pressure on the bowels leading to constipation.
- Pain during intercourse.
If you find out that you have fibroids during an examination or if you consult a doctor with any of these symptoms, they will most likely ask for an ultrasound or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which will confirm the type of fibroid and the extent of your problem. Treatment includes non-invasive-focused ultrasound surgery.
Treatment with Homeopathy:
One of the best advantages of choosing Homeopathy is that it works without side effects. It addresses the issue rather than the symptom. A surgical procedure mentioned in general treatment does remove the fibroids but there is no guarantee that they won't grow back as the underlying issue of hormonal imbalance remains.
During a clinical study of the effects of Homeopathy on fibroids, 85% patients showed improvement and 48% people had complete fibroid removal.
Treatment: There are medicines in Homeopathy that can treat uterine fibroids, cervical fibroids and help maintain normal hormonal balance in females.
Can Physiotherapy Cure cervical disc prolapse and L5 S1 Disc bulge.I am suffering from Neck pain for the Past 6 years
Breast cancer begins when the cells that are present in the breast start to go out of control. These cells generally form a tumor which can be seen on mammogram or one can feel it as a lump. The tumor is threatening if the cells can grow into the tissues that surround it or spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer happens mostly in ladies. Here are a few methods with which you can prevent breast cancer-
- Keep your weight in check: Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone although, it is easy to tune it out since it is said so often. Being overweight can expand the danger of a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, particularly after menopause.
- Be physically active: Women who are physically active for almost or at least 30 minutes a day have a lower danger of breast cancer. Normal activity is additionally one of the ideal approaches to keep weight under control.
- Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables and Avoid Too Much Alcohol: A balanced and healthy diet can bring down the danger of breast cancer. Attempt to eat a considerable measure of fruits and vegetables and keep liquor at moderate levels or lower. While moderate drinking can be useful for the heart in most grown-ups, even low levels of intake can build the danger of breast cancer. If you do not drink, don't feel you have to begin. In case you drink modestly, there is less risk.
- Try not to Smoke: Smokers and non-smokers alike know how undesirable smoking is. It brings down a person’s quality of life and expands the danger of heart and lung diseases, stroke, and no less than 15 types of cancer, including breast cancer. It additionally causes bad breath, awful teeth, and wrinkles.
- Breastfeed, If Possible: Breastfeeding for almost one year or more brings down the danger of breast cancer. It additionally has extraordinary medical advantages for the baby as well, especially in terms of immunity.
- Keep away from Birth Control Pills: Contraceptive pills have both dangers and advantages. In many cases, the more young a lady is, the lower the danger is. While ladies are taking birth control pills, they have more chances of falling prey to breast cancer as per various medical studies. This danger leaves rapidly in the wake of stopping the pill. The danger of stroke and heart attack is increased while on the pill, especially if the woman smokes. Long term use can likewise have essential advantages, such as bringing down the danger of ovarian cancer, colon tumor and uterine cancer and undesirable pregnancy. In case you are exceptionally worried about breast cancer, staying away from birth control pills is also an alternative to lower the risk. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist and ask a free question.
I have severe lower back pain for last 18 years which increases during periods. I'm 32 years old and unmarried. It's constant, it always pains. Is it slip disc or what Please help.
Most commonly known as a military neck a straight or forward curve of the neck is abnormal and may cause an unkind progression of symptoms leading ultimately to cervical disk degeneration.
Reversal of cervical lordosis explained
The anatomy of the neck features a lordotic curvature in its typical and healthy state. This means that the cervical region has a gentle curvature with the open end of that curve facing the rear of the body. The base and top of the curve will be further posterior than the mid point, which will be further anterior.
When the lordosis is straightened, the neck becomes more upright and linear. This is more common than the next progression of atypical curvature, which is the subject of this article.
Actual reversal of curvature means that part or all of the cervical spine develops a kyphotic profile, with the open end of the curve facing anteriorly. Usually, this reversal is extremely mild, but is still very abnormal. What we now see is the middle of the curve being positioned posterior to the top and bottom.
In essence, picture the letter c and now turn it backwards: This is the shape of a reversed cervical lordosis.
Reversal of cervical lordosis causes
The spinal curvature in the neck is constantly in flux to some degree.
Congenital conditions and developmental conditions can have lasting effects on the natural degree of curvature typically demonstrated from patient to patient. These circumstances may be explainable due to injury or degeneration, or may be idiopathic:
Scoliosis can affect the normal lordotic curvature in the neck.
Cervical spondylolisthesis is a major source of reversed lordotic curvature.
Severe disc pathologies can facilitate a gradual loss or reversal of cervical lordosis.
Vertebral irregularities, such as wedging, can definitely contribute to lordotic alteration.
Traumatic injury, including vertebral fracture, can create the ideal circumstances for a reversal of lordosis to take place.
Severe neck muscle spasms can actually reshape the spinal curves, although these are usually temporary expressions and not actual structural conditions.
Effects of reversal of cervical lordosis
The neck is designed to curve in order to balance the spine, absorb stress, distribute force and provide proper movement of the head. When this curvature is diminished or reversed, symptoms may result, although this is not an inherent part of any altered lordotic condition.
Patients may experience stiffness and tension in the neck. Pain may be present and may even be severe in rare cases. Neurological dysfunction is possible in extreme cases, since the neuroforamen might not align properly, thereby causing a cervical pinched nerve.
In the worst circumstances, central spinal stenosis in the neck might affect the viability of the spinal cord, possible enacting the most dire of symptoms throughout the body.
Patients will also be more prone to injury, since the normal shock absorption qualities of the typical curvature have been lost.
While all these effects are certainly possible, they are not usual. In fact, a great majority of patients have minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all from mild reversed lordotic curvatures.
The pathology leading to a neck curve reversal (cervical kyphosis shown below right) may be inspired by a multitude of conditions as follows:
Post head injury
Poor sitting/working postures
Congenital spinal curvatures
Degenerative cervical discs (a form of osteoarthritis that can either be the cause of or the result of a cervical kyphosis)
Compression fracture of vertebral body
Infection of the cervical spine
Anatomy: straight vs. Curved
I've always heard that it was good to stand up straight.
stand upright, stick your chest out and hold your shoulders back! otherwise you're going get widows hump.
Are these expressions as familiar to you as they are to me? one might think that having a curved neck goes against what we heard from parents and teachers as we were growing up, but the reality is that there is a little bit a truth in both. Maintaining good posture throughout our lives is crucial to both the health of our spine and vital organs. On the contrary, a special type of curve called a lordosis is a good thing, both in the neck and lower back.
When we look at a person from the back their spine should be truly straight, so that the left and right sides of one's body is symmetrical. However, when we view a person from the side, the front and back of their body is different and this is reflected in a coinciding curvature of the spine. Both the lower back and neck are hollowed out (concave) and the mid or thoracic spine is protrudes (convex). Thus there is an alternation of curves functioning to provide stability, shock absorption and aid in propulsion. A straight spine would be very stiff and not flexible. Imagine the plight of a pole vaulter with an inflexible pole.
Nature's design of our spine and rib cage facilitates breathing and offers protective and supportive framework for vital organs. Spinal disks are shock absorbers and because they are in the front of the spine, lordotic curvatures keep them from having to bear weight. Kyphosis or loss of such curvatures bears weight upon the disks, leading to their ultimate degeneration. This process of deterioration is a form of osteoarthritis and in the spine is known as degenerative spondylosis.
Although most physiotherapists or conservative orthopedists can recognize a cervical curve reversal upon viewing the patient's posture, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained via a standing lateral (side view) x-ray of the neck. Cause can often be determined by corroborating a comprehensive history, a thorough examination, x-rays and questions about sleep, work and lifestyle.
In my professional career I found that the majority of young adults presenting with cervical kyphosis either had a whiplash or were stomach sleepers from an early age. For desk jockeys 40-60 years of age, many hours of sitting with their head flexed forward almost dictates the fate of developing kyphosis. In prior years I considered cervical kyphosis a job hazard for the careers of accountants, attorneys and often teachers because of years spent with their head in a book or paperwork. However, the digital age offers some relief in that respect. A well-planned, ergonomically-friendly office can do wonders for protecting the spine in the sedentary worker.
Treatment for cervical curve reversal (kyphosis)
During my chiropractic practice I had the opportunity to note a good percentage of correction toward a more normal lordosis (noted on x-ray) for 70% of patients under my care. This was almost always consistent with those patients that followed all recommendations and were model participants in their own care. Here is the recommended treat plan:
Spinal manipulation of stiff and fixated spinal segments by a qualified physio
Flexibility exercises for flexion and extension of cervical spine
Resistance exercises for flexors and extensors of the neck
Learn the Alexander technique for maintaining good posture (hint: the basic philosophy is to sit and stand like you were hanging by a string from the vertex of your skull. Liken it to a puppet on a string).
Elimination of stomach sleeping
Avoid standing on your head, although some yoga postures may be beneficial
Use of orthopedic neck pillow while sleeping.
Good day to you. For a few months i've been having numbness and weakness in my left leg and scrotum. Got my mri results back and they say. Mild scoliosis at L4 L5 region with minor disc bulge with no nerve compression. No sign of cauda equina. Small annular tear at L4 region with muscular spasm. What's causing my numbness? How do I fix the disc bulge?
I am 40 years old I was suffering from disc dislocation and recovered from it in 2007, but now I am suffering from Neck pain at vertebral column and my left Knee is also paining.
I have L5-S1 disc extrusion condition from a year resulting in severe pain in the right leg. Is surgery the only solution?
Herniated disk l3-14 mm L4-11 mm L5-10 mm S1-8 mm My age 23 /M Dr. suggest for surgery but I didn't want that any chances for normal.
Is there any other possible cure for herniated disc except operation when the patient has started losing power in one leg while other leg is having radiative pain.
I am suffering from slipped disc in cervical spine from 6 months. So my question is that I am a dance choreographer should I continue with my dance or not can you suggest me and how this problem Will be cured.
I have disc bulge and getting pain in my left leg. I have MRI report my nerve is compressed of left leg.
I have a herniated disk (bulged disk/slip disk) at c7 and the c7 nerve is compressed for last 2 months. Do you have treatment in ayurveda ?
I am bodybuilder I had a disc replacement due to bulge in my disc. Is it possible to continue bodybuilding. Lifting weights etc. Plzz help me.
I am a student. Usually I used to sit more than 8 hours a day in chair. Now a days I am feeling very much pain on regions of backbone and neck. Is this a chance of disk failure?
Breast Cancer - What exactly is it?
‘Breast cancer’ is a term that is used to refer to a malignant tumour, which has developed from cells present in the breast. Generally, all tumours can be divided into two categories i.e. benign and malignant and it is the malignant tumour that is responsible for causing cancer. Breast cancer generally originates in the cells the milk producing glands of the breast's or the passage, which carries milk from the glands to the lobules. Additionally, breast cancer can also originate in the stromal tissues, including the fibrous and fatty connective breast tissues.
Breast Cancer: Treatment Options
Treatment for breast cancer depends upon two things: the exact type of the cancer and how advanced the cancer is. Treatment options for breast cancer can thus be broadly divided into two categories as Local treatments and Systemic treatments.
Treatments that target the tumour without having any effect on the rest of the body are called local treatments. The following types of local treatment options are available for treating breast cancer:
- Surgery: Surgical breast cancer treatment involves removal of the malignant cancerous tumour in an operation. Smaller tumours can be removed using a surgical process referred to as ‘lumpectomy’, wherein the tumour along with a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding the tumour is removed. For larger tumours, removal of the entire breast becomes mandatory, in a surgical process known as ‘mastectomy’. Women who undergo mastectomy can choose to undergo reconstructive plastic surgery for reconstruction of the removed breast(s).
- Radiation Therapy: This basically involves using radiation to kill cancer cells present in the body. Radiation therapy is a long-drawn process that usually involves a set number of treatments administered over a long period of time. Radiation therapy is also generally the follow-up procedure after a lumpectomy, or more rarely, a mastectomy.
Treatments involving drugs that are administered via either the mouth or direct injection into the bloodstream are called systemic treatments. These include:
- Chemotherapy: This includes using drugs to destroy the cancer cells present in the body by stopping the cancer cells from growing and dividing. Chemotherapy can be administered using either an IV (intravenous) tube or via pills that can be swallowed.
- Hormone Therapy: This treatment option is used for treating tumours which have tested positive for progesterone or oestrogen receptors. Blocking hormones that fuel the tumour’s growth is the basis of this therapy.
- Targeted Therapy: This targets specific proteins and genes which contribute to growth and survival of the cancer cells. Targeted therapy is an extremely focused treatment, and is very effective in blocking the growth and division of cancer cells, as well as minimizing damage to surrounding healthy cells.