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Breast cancer is the most common forms of cancer in females, affecting one in every eight women in the US. There are huge awareness campaigns, which revolve around ways to recognize if you are prone for it and how to identify the disease in its early stages. Knowing the symptoms can help in early diagnosis and thereby early intervention and better prognosis.
How and why of breast cancer?
The breasts produce milk through the glands, which also contain connective tissue including fat, fibrous tissue, nerves, blood vessels, etc. The milk reaches the exterior through a fine network of ducts. Most cancers develop as small calcifications in these ducts, which continues to grow and spread to distant organs.
Warning signs and symptoms: Given the high incidence of breast cancer, knowing the symptoms helps in early identification. Read on to know more, especially if there is a family history.
- Any change in the size, shape, or contour of the breasts
- Appearance of a lump in the breasts or the armpits
- Presence of a clear or bloody discharge from the breast
- The breast or the nipple turning red
- Sudden thickening of breast tissue or skin that continues for a while
- Change in the feel or look of the skin (dimpling, puckering, scaliness, reddishness, warmth, etc.)
- Hardening of the tissue under the breast skin
- Difference in appearance or feel of one area in comparison with other areas
The presence of any of these or a combination of these symptoms should be an indication for a detailed checkup. As mentioned, early diagnosis helps in reducing complications and improving prognosis. It is also good to know risk factors, which also indicate if you need to watch for symptoms.
- Family history: Breast cancer runs in families, and if you have a first-degree relative with breast cancer, watch out for symptoms.
- Tested positive for BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of other cancers
- Age: Women over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian women carry greater risk than African-American women.
- Hormones: Increased use of estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Therefore, women who have used birth control for long time or are on hormone replacement are at greater risk.
- Abnormal gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones are more predisposed to developing breast cancer. For instance, girls who attain menarche before age of 12, get pregnant after 30, and reach menopause after 55. Women with menstrual irregularities including cycles earlier than 26 days and later than 29 days are also likely to have hormonal issues and are, therefore, at higher risk of breast cancer.
- Other factors: Smoking, alcohol abuse, and obesity also increase the chances of a woman developing breast cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.
I am 45 years of age, there are ligament disorder in my left side knee & slip disc problem too in both side feel heavy pain you are requested to advice me for better treatment & earlier relief in the same.
If you are concerned about breast cancer, you should know about the steps you can take to prevent the condition. Breast cancer is a type of cancer developing from the breast tissue. Symptoms such as a lump in the breast, fluid flowing from the nipple, changes in the shape of the breast and occurrence of red scaly patches on the breast denote breast cancer.
You need to make certain lifestyle changes in order to prevent breast cancer. The ways you should adopt include the following:
Limit your alcohol intake: The more you consume alcohol, the more you put yourself at the risk of getting breast cancer. It is recommended for you not to drink more than one drink per day. Small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer as well.
Abstain from smoking: There is a direct link between tobacco smoking and breast cancer, and the risk is even more in premenopausal women. You should quit smoking to reduce the risk of breast cancer along with many other conditions, which can develop because of the ill-effects of smoking.
Control your weight: Obese women are more prone to breast cancer when compared with women with a healthy weight. This is especially true when obesity occurs at a later stage in life, after menopause.
Keep physically active: Regular physical activity is essential for you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for preventing breast cancer. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises are recommended along with strength training.
Breastfeed: Breastfeeding plays an important role in preventing breast cancer. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more protected you are from breast cancer.
Limit the dosage and duration of hormone therapy: If you undertake combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years, you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In case you are taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about alternative options such as non-hormonal therapy and medications. If you still require hormonal therapy, you must use the lowest dose that will be effective.
Avoid exposure to radiation and pollution: Certain medical imaging procedures like computerized tomography involves radiation of high doses. There is a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Thus, you should abstain from getting exposed to radiation and avoid taking such tests if it is not very urgent.
Maintaining a healthy diet also helps in reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. You should include food items which are plant based in your regular diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Also, consume healthy fats such as olive oil instead of red meat and butter. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist.
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.
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?
Hello Doctor I have degenerative disc disease after a fall down a flight of stairs in 2013. I sometimes have difficulty in breathing while asleep at night and develop colds frequently, is this due to the lumbar fracture? Also is inability to fill bladder a symptom of disc injury? Thank you for your time Doctor.
I want to know about disk pain. i am suffering from this pain from very long . please suggest me good treatment
Also known as slipped disc, herniated disc or sciatica. The discs are the shock absorbers of your spine. When they are injured the inner soft part of the disc can protrude out through a tear in the outer lining of the disc. This disc material can press on the nerves in the spinal column, injuring them through direct pressure and causing inflammation.
The most common age to develop a disc prolapse is between the ages of 30-50 years., twice as many men as women are affected. Prolpased discs occur mainly in the low back (lumbar) spine. Less than I in 20 cases of back pain are due to a disc prolapse, most are due to mechanical back pain. (see section back pain).
A slipped disc is characterised by sudden, severe back pain that is often made worse by movement and which can usually be eased by lying down flat.
Nerve root pain (sciatica) can also occur because a nerve is trapped or irritated by a prolapsed disc. Although the problem is in the back, patients experience pain along the course of the nerve, for example, down a leg to the calf or foot.
With a prolapsed disc, the sciatic nerve is most commonly affected. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is made up from several smaller nerves that come out from the spinal cord in the lower back and travels down each leg. The irritation or pressure on the nerve may also cause pins and needles, numbness or weakness in part of a buttock, leg or foot.
In rare cases, cauda equina syndrome can occur. This is a disorder where the nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord are trapped. It can cause low back pain as well as problems with bowel and bladder function and weakness in one or both legs. These symptoms need urgent medical treatment to prevent permanent damage to the nerves that supply the bladder and bowel.
A large number of people can have a prolapsed disc without any symptoms if it doesn’t trap or irritate the nerve.
A doctor will normally be able to diagnose a prolapsed disc from the symptoms and by examining the patient.
In most cases, no tests are needed, as the symptoms often settle within a few weeks.
Tests such as x-rays or scans may be advised if symptoms persist. In particular, an MRI scan can show the site and size of a prolapsed disc. This information is needed if surgery is being considered