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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!
The sciatic pain caused due to a lumbar herniated disc can radiate down your legs and may make you immobile. It is quite common for a herniated disc to press against a nearby nerve and inflame, leading to pain radiating along the length of the affected sciatic nerve. For getting relief from lumbar herniated disc pain, you need to become active. Daily hamstring stretches are considered to be an effective way to tackle such pain if you do them regularly.
Here are three important hamstring stretches which will help you in strengthening your hamstring muscles:
- Seated chair stretches: This stretch is perfect for people whose mobility is limited or for those who have unusually tight hamstrings. It is carried out in a sitting position. While performing this stretch, you have to sit on a chair with another chair placed across. By resting one foot on the ground and the other on the second chair, you need to straighten your back and lean forward over the leg which is extended. Once you feel a stretch in the upper and rear thigh, you should be in that position for at least 30 seconds. You should switch legs and repeat the stretching exercise thrice for each leg.
- Towel hamstring stretch: If you like stretching while lying down, this stretch is an ideal option for you. For performing a towel hamstring stretch, you have to lie down on the floor and keep one leg flat. Tighten your abdominal muscles while you lift the other leg and keep it straight. You should wrap a belt around the elevated leg’s instep and use it for pulling back the leg towards you. Hold the position for around 30 seconds when you feel a stretch.
- Wall hamstring stretch: This stretch is for people who find the towel hamstring stretch hard to execute. For such people, extra stability can be attained by taking help of a solid surface such as a door jamb or a wall. You can rest the raised leg against the wall for support. You need to lie on the floor near a wall corner and leave one leg straight while placing the other against the wall. Your hips should be on the floor.
While you do stretches of any kind, you should only stretch as far as you are comfortable. You must not stretch to a point which causes pain. These hamstring stretches are quite safe, but you should avoid them in case of any sudden, acute pain. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Disk l4 l5 mildly bulged diffusely and posture bilaterally mildly narrowing lateral recesses. I have phasing problem from last 2 months now I got MRI so I got above impression .Is it major and what is the solution and I am getting pain back to but.
The lower part of uterus, which eventually leads into the vagina in the female reproductive system in humans is called the cervix uteri or in simple words, cervix. The inflammation of this part of the reproductive system is called Cervicitis.
Inflammation in the cervix is caused due to irritation, infection or injury to the cells, which align the cervix. Any one of a number of infections, mainly sexually transmitted diseases can cause cervicitis, of which the most common are chlamydia , mycoplasma , ureaplasma and gonorrhea. Chlamydia accounts for almost 40% of the total cases. Less common causes of cervicitis are Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis) and Genital herpes. Other than STDs, causes for Cervicitis include allergies, bacterial imbalance, injury or irritation resulting from pessaries, tampons, hormonal imbalance and even cancer or its treatment (radiation therapy).
Some cases of cervicitis in women can be symptomless. However, in most cases, symptoms are present, and they include:
1. Persistence of gray or white vaginal discharge that may or may not smell
2. Vaginal bleeding under certain conditions eg. in between periods or after sex
5. Difficulty or pain during urination
6. In rare cases, fever or pain in the abdomen
Cervicitis has no typical form of treatment. Treatment may not be needed in cases where the cause is not a sexually transmitted infection. On suspicion of an infection, the main objectives of the treatment are the removal of the infection and obstructing its spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus, or in case of pregnancy, to the baby.
The medical prescription issued by your doctor would depend on the organism, which is causing the infection. It may include Antibiotics, Antifungal medications or Antiviral medications. Cryosurgery, a process, which freezes the abnormal cells in the cervix using freezing temperatures, may also be performed by your doctor. In severe cases, where there is damage to the cervical cells, your doctor can apply silver nitrate (destroys abnormal cells).
Recommendations from your doctor may also ask your partner to be treated so as to prevent recurrence of the disease and to avoid intercourse as long as the treatment is in process. Treatment is mandatory if you are tested to be HIV positive. Moreover, having cervicitis makes you more prone to receive the virus from a HIV positive partner. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
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.
I am 34 years old male. I am suffering from back pain for the last 3 years. I have done MRI. In MRI it is found that 1. MILD DIFFUSE DISC BULGE IS NOTED AT L3-4 LEVEL CAUSING ANTERIORTHECAL SAC indentation MINIMAL NARROWING OF BILATERAL NEURAL forminal AS WELL AS LATERAL RECESSES. 2. MILD DIFFUSE DISC BULGE IS NOTED AT L4-5LEVEL CAUSING ANTERIOR THECAL SAC INDENTATION AND NARROWING OF BILATERAL NEURAL forminal AS WELL AS LATERAL RECESSES. MILD facial ARTHROPATHY IS NOTED BILATERALLY. please MAKE ME UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THE PROBLEM AND WHAT IS THE SOLUTION.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growth that develop in the uterus in varying sizes. Fibroids do not usually show symptoms, but if they are large they may cause severe pain in the abdomen, heavy menstrual bleeding, bloating, infertility or complications during pregnancy. Several factors may lead to the formation of fibroids, including hormones, family history, and pregnancy.
What is myomectomy?
Myomectomy is the surgical procedure which is used for removing fibroids from the uterus. It is a safe method that allows women to become pregnant in future. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue therapy, performed before myomectomy helps in lowering the estrogen level and also controls anemia by stopping uterine bleeding. The different surgical methods for myomectomy include:
- Hysteroscopy, involving the insertion of a lighted viewing instrument into the uterus
- Laparoscopy, involving the insertion of a lighted viewing instrument and one or more incisions in the abdomen
- Laparotomy, involving a larger incision made in the abdomen
Why is the surgery performed?
Myomectomy treats fibroids while preserving the uterus. It is a viable option for those who have:
- Anemia which cannot be controlled with medicines
- Pain which cannot be tackled with medicines
- A fibroid that can cause infertility or increases the risk of miscarriages
How well does it work?
- Pregnancy: myomectomy is the only treatment for treating fibroids that improve your chances of having a baby. The method is effective for treating submucosal fibroid. A cesarean section is required for delivery after performing a myomectomy.
- Recurrence: recurrence of fibroids after myomectomy is really low. It is possible in rare cases, depending on what the original fibroid problem was. Large and numerous fibroids have a greater risk of recurrence. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
1. What are the symptoms of liver disease? When to see a doctor?
Most of the liver diseases present with similar symptoms with some variations. Some of the common symptoms can be loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, vomiting of blood, jaundice(yellowish discoloration of the eye), abdominal pain, itching, distension of abdomen( accumulation of fluid- ascites), swelling of lower limbs, weight loss, altered sensorium, confusion, and in a late stage- coma.
2. Can liver disease be prevented?
Liver is a crucial body organ which is responsible for processing essential nutrients from the food you eat, synthesizing bile and most importantly removing harmful toxins from the system. To ensure that your liver keeps performing its functions, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Some of the liver diseases are metabolic and hence inherent at the time of birth and manifest later. However, some of the more common liver diseases are preventable like alcohol induced liver disease, fatty liver induced liver disease (NAFLD), Hepatitis A, B and C.
3. What is liver transplantation? What is the average cost of liver transplantation?
Liver transplantation is the treatment for end stage liver disease in both adults and children. In this operation, the diseased liver is removed and replaced by a healthy one. The success rate for the operation is high and terminally ill patient can return to normal lives.
The average cost of liver transplantation is Rs 18 to 20 Lakhs at Sahyadri specialty hospital, Pune Maharashtra. The cost of investigations of the donor and recipient is Rs 90,000. When patients are too sick and require prolonged stay following liver transplantation, the cost of treatment can escalate; hence it is advisable to patients to have the liver transplantation before they develop complications secondary to the liver disease (Cirrhosis).
Most of the patients seek help at a very late stage or referred late to a Surgeon. It is advisable for patients to seek the opinion of a Surgeon at a very early stage of the disease. The patient needs to take medicines for the rest of his life to prevent rejection of the new liver. The cost of medicines and the investigations in the first year is approximately Rs 10-15000/-. The number of medicines and the frequency of blood investigations are much less after the first year of liver transplantation.
The cost of liver transplantation in India is one-twentieth when compared to USA, UK and other European Countries.
4. When should a liver transplant be performed?
When a person’s liver is severely damaged and cannot function properly or complications may develop and liver transplantation should be considered. Conditions like hepatic coma, massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver cancer is the best treated by complete removal of the liver (cirrhotic liver).
In general, when a patient needs a new liver, the earlier the operation, the higher the success rate is.
Urgent liver transplantation is recommended in patients who have acute liver failure and this could be due to many reasons. The common conditions are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E and drug induced. In such patients, liver transplantation is urgently needed in order to save the life of the individual.
5. What are the advantages/benefits to the recipient of getting a living donation vs cadaver?
A new liver can come from either of the two sources: A living donor or a brain-dead deceased donor.
Living donor transplantation:
It is technically feasible to remove part of the liver from a living person and transplant it to a patient who needs a new liver. The operation has now been done since 1989. Depending on the size matching of the donor and recipient, either the left side (about 35-40%) or the right side (60-65%) of the liver will have to be removed. The liver remnant in the donor will grow to its original size in 6-8 weeks time.
This process helps in an earlier transplantation before the recipients’ conditions deteriorates. It is a planned procedure whilst cadaver liver transplantation is an emergency procedure. It avoids the risk of death while waiting for a deceased donor liver graft(40% overall and 75% for patients in Intensive care units). The survival rate of a living donor transplant is over 90%.
There are risks like complications of the investigations and surgical procedures but the possibility of donor death rate is of 0.2-0.5%. Seventeen donor deaths have been reported in Brazil, France, Germany, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, USA and India.
This is well established in the Europe and USA. Unfortunately, the availability of deceased donor liver is not very often in India. Depending on your blood group, you may have to wait for 0 to 6 months before you get a new liver.
During this waiting period, you may develop complications like spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (infection of the fluid in the abdomen) which, if repetitive may produce severe adhesions in your abdomen rendering liver transplantation difficult if not impossible.
It is important for everyone to register for organ donation, so that when we die, this noble act will help many people to lead normal lives. In the Western world the organ donation rate is between 15-18/million population where as in Indi it is less than 1/million.
6. Who can be a suitable living donor?
The most important criteria is that the donation of portion of the liver is done voluntarily. The donor has to be less than 50 years of age, body mass index of less than 25 and is a near relative of the recipient. Both the donor and the patient should have the same Blood group or O Blood group.
Besides, the potential donor should understand clearly that
- The donor operation carries complication rate of 10-15%.
- The recipient is successful in 90-95%, which means that there is 5-10% chance of dying.
- The donation is done out of his/her own wish and without any coercion.
- There is no financial gain related to the act of donation.
- The donor has the right to withdraw at any time without the need of giving any reasons to do so.
7. Which patients are excluded from liver transplantation procedure?
Patients who have cancer in another part of the body, active alcohol or illegal drug abuse, active or severe infection in any part of the body, serious heart, lung or neurological conditions or those who are unable to follow doctors’ instructions are excluded generally.
8. What are the risks to the recipient from the surgery?
The overall success rate of liver transplant is over 94% and the majority of recipients can return to normal activities and achieve 95% of their quality of life which they had prior to liver disease. Since the recipients’ body may reject the new liver, it is essential for them to take immunosuppressive medications and continue follow up at the liver transplant clinic. They will need to continue these medications for life, at a reducing dosage.
The risk for the recipient is the return of the original problem that necessitated the liver transplant in the first place, e.g. hepatitis C, recidivism (return to alcoholism), noncompliance of medications. The other complications that can arise are thrombosis of blood vessels going into or out of the liver, primary or delayed graft non-function, bile duct complications, renal failure and other infections.
9. What are the side effects of having a liver transplant?
After a successful liver transplantation (95% of patients) – the patient is advised to take care of infections and to take anti-rejection medicines for life. The patient can return to normal quality of life and can return back to work in three months time. The patient has to regularly follow up with the surgeon in the first year and later at regular intervals as advised by his doctor. He will require blood tests to determine that his liver functions and to adjust his medications in the beginning and later the tests are infrequent. The patient is advised not to take any herbal or alternative drug treatment.
The transplant patient is assessed regularly for various complications like rejection, infection, narrowing of blood vessels etc., and appropriate treatment is initiated. Post transplantation, he is under the guidance of his doctor throughout his life. Any health problems that do come up have to be investigated and treated, though they are infrequent.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!