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Breast cancer is a form of cancer which develops from the breast tissue. Breast cancer is indicated by signs such as a lump in the breast, changes in breast shape, fluid flowing from the nipple, dimpling of skin, or the development of red scaly patches. Breast cancer is a fatal form of cancer in women and immediate diagnosis is required on observing the symptoms.
Diagnosis of breast cancer
Other than the regular breast screening, the diagnosis of breast cancer involves the following steps and methods:
- Seeing your general practitioner (GP): It is very important to visit your GP soon after noticing the symptoms of breast cancer. Your GP will examine you properly and in case your symptoms need more assessment, he/she will refer you to a breast cancer clinic.
- Mammogram and breast ultrasound: You will be required to have a mammogram, as recommended by a specialist breast unit. This is an X-ray of the breasts. An ultrasound scan may also be required. Breast ultrasound should be undertaken only if you are less than 35 years of age. This is because, young women have denser breasts and a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in the diagnosis of breast cancer. In ultrasound, high frequency sound waves are used for obtaining an image of your breasts. It is observed to notice any abnormality or lumps. A breast ultrasound is also important for determining whether a lump is solid or contains liquid.
- Biopsy: In this diagnosis process, a sample of the tissue cells is taken from the breasts and tested under a microscope to find out if it is cancerous. A scan and needle test for the lymph nodes present in your armpit is also done to check whether they have also been affected. A biopsy is undertaken in several ways, depending upon the condition and severity. A needle aspiration biopsy is used for testing a sample of your breast cells without the removal of the tissues. This is the most common form of biopsy and it is also used for draining a small fluid-filled lump or benign cyst. During the process, you will be given a local anesthetic. Usually, a needle biopsy is carried out guided by an X-ray, ultrasound and an MRI scan as well. This helps in distinguishing it from non-invasive changes such as ductal carcinoma in situ.
Another form of biopsy used for the diagnosis of breast cancer is called vacuum assisted biopsy or mammotome biopsy. In this process, a needle gets attached to a suction tube, which helps in obtaining the sample and for clearing the bleeding.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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!
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.
I have diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma, NOS, in right breast (in biopsy report. Please suggest me what is my treatment option.
Uterine cysts are a type of cysts or tumours, which grow in the uterus. This is prevalent in women when they are near their childbearing years. Uterine cysts have some typical symptoms, which would let you know when to consult a medical practitioner for further help. It would cause excessive bleeding for a long duration of time. There is bleeding from the uterus in between your menstrual cycles. At times, it becomes very difficult to empty your bladder and irritation and discomfort are caused. It also leads to constipation. These are frequent symptoms, which accompany uterine cysts. These types of cysts are almost always non-cancerous, but it is beneficial to take an expert advice on that matter. Homeopathy is a great option to treat such cysts.
Homeopathy is becoming increasingly popular throughout the entire world. Now it is time to prove to the world what homeopathy can offer in surgical diseases. Homeopathic medicines cannot take the place of surgery but can be of great help to the patients who do not want to go for surgery or cannot be operated upon due to various medical reasons. There are specific medications to treat cysts through homeopathy.
Some of them are:
Calcarea Carbonica: This medicine is suitable for those who bleed profusely during their menstrual cycle. Such excessive bleeding causes shivers and shrills in them, making them more prone to anaemia. In fact, excessive bleeding also influences their fertility cycles. This medicine is administered on overweight women who suffer from uterine cysts.
Thlaspi Bursa Pastoris: This is prescribed to women who experience frequent menstrual cycles within short intervals. In fact, one does not even recover from the shock of the previous cycle and the new one starts. It is usually accompanied by excessive pain in the uterus. This medicine not only treats the cysts, but also the frequent period cycles and pain in the uterus.
Trillium Pendulum: At times, due to excessive bleeding from the uterus, the patient suffers from fainting spells. Such cysts are also characterised by bright red blood flow during the menstrual cycle. These are the two main symptoms to administer this medicine on the individual.
Fraxinus Americana: Apart from irregular periods with pain in the uterus, it is also followed by breaking down spells. One experiences cramps in the feet during this type of cyst. In such conditions, the best natural homeopathic therapy that can be administered is Fraxinus Americana.
Calcarea Fluorica: This is a common medicine which is given to those patients who have extremely large tumours. These tumours are also characterised by their unique hardness.
Uterine cysts are a common problem in women and can be treated effectively. One needs to be alert about the symptoms and must immediately report to a specialized homeopathic practitioner for an effective administration of medicines, which may lead to a successful cure.
Breast cancer, is a type of cancer, which is common to women, where cancer cells grow on the breasts or the female mammary gland. It starts out with the formation of a small lump in your breast and can spread out to your other organs very rapidly. It generally affects women above forty years of age. Breast cancer can be classified into two types. They can either start forming on the inner linings of your milk ducts ( known as Ductal carcinoma) or in the lobules which supply milk (known as Lobular carcinoma).
There are many causes responsible for breast cancer they are mentioned below:
- Obesity or post-menopausal obesity (Learn more about Heart Diseases Post Menopause)
- Exposure to frequent radiation (X-ray)
- Consumption of alcohol
- Being taller than average
- Start of periods at an early age
- Late menopause
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Consumption of birth control pills
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are as follows:
- Formation of a lump in your breast
- Swelling or shrinking of your breast
- Change of size, shape and color of your nipple
- Blood or milk discharge from the nipple
- Breast pain
- Itching sensation
- Appearance of rashes (Learn more about to maintain the skin health)
Breast cancer if not diagnosed and treated at an early stage may turn out to be fatal. Ayurveda offers promising cures for breast cancer.
A few of the Ayurvedic remedies are mentioned below:
- Include foods, which are well supplied with vitamin D in your diet. Researches show that women with less amount of vitamin D in their bodies are more likely to develop breast cancer. Consider including foods like eggs, orange juice, dairy products and fish like salmon in your diet.
- Drink more of green tea as it has anti cancer properties.
- Exercises like walking, yoga, meditation and certain breast exercises can help you to relax the pain sensation, reduce stress and also get cured.
- Incorporate bitter gourd in your diet. Researches show that bitter gourd can kill those cancer cells, which cause breast cancer.
- Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha, tulsi, curcumin have certain properties that can destroy cancer cells.
Since, breast cancer has less survival rates, it is absolutely essential for you to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner if you wish to get cured through Ayurvedic treatment.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a highly effective and innovative treatment option in a variety of fields, from urology to cosmetology including orthopedics. This is a non-invasive method that employs high-energy shockwaves to bring about the healing of the affected tissues. It has been found to provide good results for recalcitrant orthopaedic problems like frozen shoulder to certain chronic degenerative or tendon conditions such as Achilles tendinitis (injury of the Achilles' tendon due to overuse) and plantar fasciitis in heel pain.
How does it work?
The procedure is basically an outpatient/ daycare job. It involves the application of a non-invasive probe to the affected tissue. This is followed by the external generation of shockwaves focused on the target area. The shockwaves cause a force to be created that brings about healing. Although it's still not clear as to why this kind of therapy works, the dominant understanding is that shockwaves render an improvement in the flow of blood so as to promote the body to fix and heal itself.
Depending on individual cases, high or low energy waves may be employed. While pain may occur during the transmission of high energy waves and would require short general anaesthesia, low-energy ESWT is carried out without anesthesia.
What problems can this form of therapy effectively tackle?
ESWT can be used to treat a number of musculoskeletal disorders. From plantar fasciitis (heel pain), tennis elbow, shoulder rotator cuff, degenerated tendons (Achilles' tendon) to hip and knee pain, the therapy has been found to reduce pain as well as accelerate healing in individuals.
Complications are very few and far between with this therapy. Individuals who suffer from hypersensitivity or poor sensation in the affected area are usually not recommended this procedure. Even individuals with heart conditions, seizures and open sores need to consult a doctor before going forward with the therapy.
The therapy has also been found to be very effective in bone healing as well as treatment of bone necrosis (a disease that occurs due to permanent or temporary loss of blood flow to the bones). Additionally in place of surgery, ESWT may also be a valuable option for non-healing fractures. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!