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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.
Hi sir my mother 72 year old she is suffering slip disk problem mri report conclusion/impression- Mr. Imaging reveal degenerative changes affecting lumbar spine with disc bulge-herniation at l1-2, l3-4, l4-5 and l5-si levels, more at l2-3, l3-4, l4-5 and l4-s1 level (protrusion), together with ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and facetal arthropathy are producing secondary canal stenosis with narrowing of bilateral neural foraming. Canal stenosis is most sever at l4-5 level.
Sir I am FROM CHENNAI having back pain when mri scanned impression as follows Early lumbar spondylosis. Mild disc bulge with focal posterocentral and bilateral postrtolateraldisc at l3_ 4 disc level causing thecal sac ibdentation and bilatrral mild beural foranimal narrowings (L>R) MILD ligamentum flavum hypertrophy at L3_4 & L4_5 disc level causing mild posterior thecal sac indention Disc desiccation in L4_5 & L5_ S1 DISC LEVEL AS LOSS OF HYPERINTENSE SIGNAL ON T2W1 PLEASE HELP I REPLY ME POSITIVELY
MRI IMPRESSION 29 August 2016 -Posterior diffuse disc herniation at L4 -5 level with bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy causing narrowing of bilateral neural recesses with compression of bilateral traversing nerve roots at same level. -Posterior diffuse disc bulge at L5-S1 level indenting ventral thecal space at same level -Changes of lumbar spondylosis I was having pain at my right hip joint on 15/8/16. It went unbearable extending to RT leg. On 3rd September night as usual on bed all the 24 hours trying to sleep on 4th at 5 am all my pain went. Till then no pain but having burning sensation on right foot, tingling, falling rt foot asleep when I sit on chair. Please advise:- 1. Surgical intervention required? Or 2.Pregabalin,Tolperisone, methylcobalamin,Calcium and D3 with rest will cure me fully? Or 3. Somekind of spinal exercises also required? ERODHA.
Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck may become the reason behind severe neck pain. They sometimes take too much space and compress the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.
I am 24yr old male and have backache for 7 month. My mri report is mild annular disc bulge is seen at l4-5 level with subtle anterior thecal sac impression. What should I do?
Lung cancer occurs at slightly younger age in women than in men. Adenocarcinoma is the commonest type of lung cancer in women. It warrants testing for some molecular markers which form the basis of targeted therapies. Thus lung cancer in women behaves biologically and clinically different from that in men
Women should take care of their health, stay away from tobacco and think positive
Dear sir For last 1month I am suffering from severe pain in L5S1 region in lower back .done MRI also n compression is seen. Now what precautions should I take on daily basis as I m on bed rest for last one month..
What are the alternatives to avoid surgery for my brother aged 47 identified with Listhesis with foot drop and disc extrusion. In fact I had disc bulge (L3 L4 L5) at the age of 41 in 2013 and took oil massage in Kerala for 15 days and I am doing good now.
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 want to know about disk pain. i am suffering from this pain from very long . please suggest me good treatment
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.
I am 46 year old I have slip discs problem in l-4, l-5 it is curebel? and what should I do to get my self cure in this regards.
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 have slip disc problem in l4 n l5. Is it possible to get relief with problem by exercise only. I have this problem from last 5 years. My age is 30 years.
My husband hs cirrhosis of liver stomach very distended+an ugly umbilical hernia+very dry skin+rash on legs +occasionally loose motions+disinterested in everything+lathargy+very weak+no energy+ frequent urination at nite with the result doesnt sleep well at nite. Medications urimax, lasilactone, lasix, heptapro. Are all these symptoms related to the cirrhosis. Latest sonography report shows right lobe of liver is contracted n left lobe is enlarged with coarse bright echogencity with nodular surface. Intraheatic biliary radicles normal. Cbd normal. Portal vein is patent. Gallbladder is distended with no calculi or polyps spleen is borderline enlarged. Free fluid is noted approximately 200cc impression cirrhosis of liver borderline splenomeagly. Cortical calcific speck in both kidney s free fluid 200cc can you tell how serious is this condition his sodium is low 126.
Any kind of bleeding from the uterus, which is not normal, can be termed as abnormal uterine bleeding. This refers to bleeding between periods or before periods, bleeding after having sex, spotting, abnormally heavy bleeding or bleeding after attaining menopause. If you are suffering from any of these issues, you need to consult with the doctor.
It is very important to diagnose abnormal uterine bleeding. There are several examinations and tests that have to be carried out, depending on age. For irregular spotting, a pregnancy test can be undertaken in case you think you could be pregnant. If your uterine bleeding is very heavy, a test has to be performed to check blood count. This is done to observe whether you have anemia. An ultrasound test of the pelvic region will also be advised by your doctor to know the cause of the bleeding. Several hormonal tests and thyroid function tests are required as well.
Other diagnostic tests include:
- Sonohysterography: When fluid is placed within the uterus and ultrasound images of the uterus are taken. An image of the pelvic organs is obtained.
- Hysteroscopy: It can be carried out when a device is inserted via the vagina and enables the doctor to examine the uterus internally.
- Magnetic resonance imaging: This is also used to get images of the organs.
- Endometrial biopsy: It involves insertion of a catheter to take out a tissue which is microscopically observed.
There are different types of treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding depending upon factors such as the cause of bleeding and the age of the patient.
- Medications: Several medicines are used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding. Sometimes hormonal medicines are used. Birth control pills are also used to improve the regularity of periods. Hormonal infections, vaginal creams and an IUD device releasing hormone can be used. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also used to control bleeding. Several antibiotics may also be prescribed.
- Surgery: In some cases of abnormal uterine bleeding, a woman has to undergo a surgery for the removal of growth such as polyps and fibroids, which results in bleeding. While some fibroids can be removed via hysteroscopy, others require different techniques for treatment.
- Endometrial ablation: It can be undertaken to control bleeding. This mode of treatment aims at reducing the bleeding permanently. In case all treatment methods fail, hysterectomy has to be carried out. This is a serious surgery and after it is performed, a woman does not have periods anymore and will not be able to conceive a child.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is a serious health condition, which may lead to severe complications. Immediate diagnosis and appropriate treatment methods should be undertaken in case of any abnormal uterine bleeding.