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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, 81 years old, having prostate problem and taking one Urimax 0.4 mcg every night and have moderate difficulty in passing urine and I have to get up 4 times in the night for this purpose. And I have hyper tension (140/90) and taking Olways-AM one tablet every day. Kindly advise if I am on the right medication and can the enlargement of prostate is curable at my age? Thank you gentlemen.
Angelina jolie's revelation for her family history of cancer and brca mutations has really benefitted genetic labs, who are getting more and more requests for brca testing from doctors and patients.
The point which everyone is missing out on is that not every patient with breast cancer requires this test. Another important thing which is being left out is the pre-test counseling, which highlights the implications of a positive and negative test.
In India, the test has to be offered judiciously because indian ladies will not readily agree for bilateral mastectomies or salpingo-oophrectomies, if the test comes positive.
It is best to consult your breast onco-surgeon or genetic counselor before ordering these tests.
What are the symptoms of of cancer? From five days I was suffering from wooophing cough is that a chance of cancer? I have habit of smoking.
Lump discovered please help Hi, I have never had a lump in my breast before I'm 24 years old and I'm worried. The lump is on the same side as where I had an abscess removed recently. It's red and inflamed on the outside and tender to touch. Wondering what it could be, thanks x.
I am 27 now I want to ask that some time I have pain in my left brest due to a small nods inside it what should I do?
My girlfriend had a severe pain in her left breast just upper left side of the nipple 1 year and 4 months ago. She consulted a doctor 4 months later. The doctor said that it may be a tumour and if not treated it could turn into a tumour and later breast cancer. So the doctor gave him some allopathic medicines and told that it would work and control the tumour. The doctor also suggested her mother to tie the knot as soon as possible. After marriage she will overcome this problem. But marriage is not happened. She took the medicine for 4 months. She got relief. But now 1 year later she got the pain again and severe pain. The tumour is hard and painful. It takes the size of a 5 rupees vaseline jar. Today the cold is enough and she has a lot of pain. Does it relate to her period?
My brother who is 83 years old is suffering from urinary problem. He isw able to pass urine without any burning sensation-no blood coming. Doctor diagnosed this as a problem of prostrate cancer. Accordingly biopsy was done. I give below their observation" The histologic findings are suspicious of prostrate adenocarcinoma (gleason score 3 3=6. Close correlation withTRUS findings andSOS repeat Biopsy is recommended" Pls advise what is this and what treatment you suggest. Does this confirm that there is cancer. Pls advise.
Hi I was operated for thyroid cancer successfully underwent TT and currently on Thyronorm 150 mcg can I consume FLAX seeds daily in the morning? Will it affect my Thyroid hormone?
My mother is suffering from esophagus cancer locally advanced. Three cycles of chemotherapy given. As cancer is not spread I want to know can radiation help her and if yes then how quickly we should give them?
Cancer can affect even small glands like the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are responsible for the production of hormones like cortisol and aldosterone. These glands are located above the kidneys and have two parts; the cortex and the medulla. Adrenal cancer generally affects the cortex of the adrenal glands. This type of cancerous tumour is rare and can be difficult to diagnose.
Most adrenal cancer symptoms are triggered by an excessive production of estrogen and androgen. Symptoms can also be caused by the pressure put on other organs by the tumour. Adrenal cancer symptoms are most easily noticeable in children as this is the stage where the body is changing and developing. Some of these symptoms are:
- Facial hair growth
- Excessive pubic and underarm hair
- An enlarged penis or clitoris
- Early onset of puberty in girls
- Development of enlarged breasts in boys
Symptoms of adrenal cancer in adults includes:
- Excessive weight gain in the abdomen and above the collar bone
- High blood pressure
- Irregular menstruation
- Easy bruising
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Muscle cramps
Additionally, men with adrenal cancer that causes excessive estrogen production may notice an enlargement of breast tissue and tenderness in the area. Women suffering from excessive androgen production triggered by adrenal cancer may notice their voice deepening and facial hair growth. In most cases, adrenal cancer symptoms in women do not appear until the tumour presses on other organs. This includes symptoms like pain around the tumor, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and difficulty eating because of this feeling.
The cause of adrenal cancer has not yet been determined, but conditions such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis and multiple endocrine neoplasia can increase a person’s risk of suffering from this disease. A thorough physical examination and a detailed medical history is required to diagnose this disease. The doctor will also need a blood test and urine test. Additional tests that may be required include:
- Biopsy of the tumor
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- PET scan
- Adrenal angiography
Adrenal cancer can be cured if diagnosed in its early stages. There are three types of treatment for adrenal cancer; surgery to remove the adrenal gland, chemotherapy and radiation. However, adrenal cancer can recur and hence it is important to schedule and maintain regular check-ups with a doctor.
The world's ancient healing system has won over the cutting edge traditional medicine for one reason i.e. they work. What's more, in view of this, they have been consolidated into the regular day to day existence of billions of individuals on the planet. Ayurveda in regards to the exceptionally advanced dis-ease of cancer and look at the ayurvedic treatment for cancer.
How Ayurveda Sees Cancer
In Ayurveda cancer is a disease that regularly includes every one of the three substantial humors (Pitta, Vata, Kapha), however, it normally begins with a transcendence of one. At one point when an individual's digestive fire or enzyme stores are low, permitting a development of toxic substances, this can make a domain for a cancer to develop. The cancer speaks to a negative life energy, something like a micro-organism, which has ended up set up in the body.
For Ayurvedic Treatment of Cancer
Changing your lifestyle to incorporate, more vegetables, live foods, and organic, grass-fed meats while, decreasing handled foods is a piece of it. Nowadays, more individuals are finding out about antiquated systems, for example, Ayurveda so as to give a general course of action to anticipating cancer.
A Natural Preventative Approach
- Foods which are brimming with life-constrain (prana) incorporate those which are fresh, whole, enzyme rich, sun-ripened, alkalizing and organic and are plant based.
- Maintain a strategic distance from refined flour items.
- Eat low glycemic foods that have low sugar content.
- Foods which have a superb rejuvenative capacity are: fresh foods, for example, child greens, sprouts, wild greens, and enzyme-rich foods.
- Eat dim green verdant vegetables, particularly foods that are in the cabbage family, for example, kale, collards, and so on.
- Sea vegetables and green growths have intense rejuvenative properties.
It's what you eat that considers well as what you keep away from:
Avoid hydrogenated fats, saturated animal fats, heated oils or fried foods. Build up the ability to listen to the signs your body is giving you. Your body is continually addressing you giving signs as to how balanced or imbalanced it may be. Do normal rejuvenation and purging practices, for example, liver and gall-bladder flushes, fasting, and so forth. Find your one of a kind body-mind constitution and utilize spices, herbs and foods as per your extraordinary individual needs. Exercise once a day. Have a program that incorporates stretching, aerobic exercise, strengthening, meditation and inhale work.