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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.
Q1. What exactly is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is an alternative to 'Open' surgery wherein the abdomen is opened by tiny 'key hole' incisions and surgery is done. 'Scopy' means the use of an endoscope or telescope to see inside the abdomen. This is attached to a camera and a light source and the inside of the abdomen is projected on to a monitor. The surgeon performs surgery looking at this screen. The surgeon makes a total of 2-4 small cuts on the abdomen ranging from half to 1 cm through which the telescope and other thin surgical instruments are passed into the abdomen. When the uterus is removed , known as hysterectomy, there is also a cut at the top of the vagina where the uterus is attached.
Q2. What kind of gynaecological surgeries can be performed by Laparoscopy?
Most surgeries done in gynaecology can now be performed by Laparoscopy and do not require the large incision as for open surgery. Laparoscopy can be done sometimes only for diagnosis and is called Diagnostic Laparoscopy, as in checking whether the tubes are open or not and to look for any causes of infertility or pain outside the uterus. In women who are unable to conceive, Diagnostic Laparoscopy is often combined with Hysteroscopy (endoscope inside the uterus, inserted from below, via the vagina). When laparoscopy is done to perform some surgical procedure inside the abdomen it is called Operative Laparoscopy. This may be for simple procedures like sterilization, minor adhesions, drilling ovaries; or for intermediate or major reasons like fibroids, endometriosis, removal of ovaries or tubes or both or removal of uterus, for staging of cancers or radical surgeries for cancer. However, about 5% of all surgeries including those for cancer or very large tumours may benefit from open surgery.
Q3. Why does an expert surgeon recommend Laparoscopy over Open Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery has many advantages above open surgery: the incisions are much smaller (open surgery incisions are 8-10 cms long), therefore pain is much less; requirement for pain killers (which can have side-effects like sleepiness, impaired judgement) is lesser; hospital stay is shorter; complications fewer; requirement for blood transfusions infrequent; recovery in terms of physical, emotional and mental state is much better and quicker; return to work is faster with consequent lesser loss of working and earning days. Surgery with laparoscope is more precise because it is magnified view. Further vision is much better because it's like having your eye behind the structure because you can see with the telescope at places where the surgeon's eye cannot reach.
Q4. If the cuts on the abdomen are so small in Laparoscopic surgery, how do you remove the uterus or a large tumour from inside the abdomen?
Quite often if the tumour is not malignant and contains fluid, it is punctured to collapse it into a smaller size. If it is solid, it can be cut into smaller pieces inside the abdomen using a special instrument. The collapsed or cut structures can be removed gently through the 1 cm cut on the abdomen which may be increased a bit if required. After hysterectomy, the uterus can be removed easily from below, through the vagina.
Q5. Will there be much pain or discomfort after Laparoscopic Surgery?
There may be some pain and discomfort in lower abdomen for one day to few days after Laparoscopic surgery but this is much less as compared to open surgery because the incisions on the abdomen are much smaller and there is much less tissue handling inside the abdomen by fine instruments instead of rough, big, gloved hands which can cause tissue injury in open surgery. There may be some pain in the shoulder following laparoscopy. This is not serious and is due to the gas used in the surgery to make space for instruments.
Q6. When can I be discharged from hospital?
Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or with simple Operative Laparoscopy you can expect to be discharged from hospital latest by the morning after surgery. In most other cases of intermediate or even major surgery, discharge is generally 1-2 days following the surgery unless there is some health issues prior to the surgery or any complication during the surgery. The complication rates for Laparoscopic surgery are not more than for open surgery and depend upon patient factors like anaemia, diabetes, obesity and skill of the surgeon.
Q7. When can I perform routine household activities or return to work after Laparoscopic Surgery?
Recovery after surgery depends upon many factors: presence of health problems before surgery; why the surgery is required; what surgery is being done; problems or complications of surgery, anaesthesia or blood transfusions. If all is well, one can perform routine household activities by 1 week, provided one doesn't feel tired. Although there may not be any harm, it may be unwise to be normally active within 48 hours of procedure. Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or Operative Laparoscopy for simple procedures, one can return to work in 1 week. For other procedures, a 2-3 week off from work is reasonable. It depends on the type of work you are returning to. Avoid too rapid return to work if it is manually hard or requires standing for long durations of time. Sometimes a surgical procedure brings on a well needed rest and break from a lifetime of work. Mostly, when you return to work depends upon your own body and its signals of tiredness. You need to listen to those signals.
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.
I am 38 years old man having back pain lasting for 20 days from mild to severe in left hip side. In consultation to orthopedic surgeon and after MRI one doctor told me the disease sciatica and another its slip disc. MRI of LS SPINE report says the result of AP diameter L1-L2=15, L2-L3=08, L3-L4=15, L4-L5=10 , L5-S1=09 Impression: 1) Degenerative DISC DISEASE with generalised disc bulge at L3-L4. Please tell.
I am 39 years my weight is 95 kg, my height is 5.4, I have ligament tear in my right knee, I have slip disc in l4, l5, high bp. Etc, please suggest how to loose weight. Rapidly fast if any medicine that can help to reduce the weight.
I was having Slip Disc problem in year 2005 and was confined on bed for 35 days. MRI reports revealed problem in L5 S 1 area. Doctors advised me not to sit on ground and sleep sideways by bending both the knees and keeping pillow in between them. Although I do not have that pain again but Now my body has become very stiff, I can not bend my knees and having very poor flexibility what should I do.
Did you know barley water is good for kidney stones?
Barley (jau), a member of grass family, is a cereal that has been cultivated for over 13, 000 years. Packed with carbohydrates (78%), fat (1%), protein (10%) and water (10%), barley is a rich source of essential nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins such as niacin, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
With several health benefits to its name, barley water is termed as the elixir to good health. It has been found to be beneficial in reducing chances of heart disease, soothing bowels, reducing blood cholesterol levels, improving blood sugar regulation in the body and acts as nutritive broth for fever, cold and cough. Additionally, studies support that barley water has also been found to play an integral role in maintaining renal health.
What is a renal stone?
A renal stone is a solid stony piece consisting of crystal forming substances in the urinary tract. They are usually formed when the urine is abundant in substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid and lack substances that inhibit their accumulation. While small kidney stones can pass through the urinary system without any symptoms, a stone larger than 5 mm can result in blockages in the urinary tract causing severe pain in the back and lower abdomen.
What causes renal stones?
- A family history for stones, lack of adequate water in the body, high BMI, excessive intake of diets rich in protein, sodium and sugar have been found to be some of the common causes for stone formation.
Try protein foods &amp; supplements
- Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel syndrome and renal tubular acidosis have also been found to alter the digestion of calcium.
How does barley water aid the dissolution of renal stones?
Studies show that regular use of barley water can dissolve and eliminate existing kidney stones and prevent the occurrence of stones and other kidney problems. Use of diuretics either natural or synthetic can help speed up the expulsion of the stone.
Diuretic in nature, barley water helps to flush toxins from the kidneys by creating bladder pressure and increasing the frequency of urination.
- It helps maintain the PH levels in the body, making it alkaline, preventing various urinary tract issues, including kidney stones.
- The vitamin B6 and magnesium in barley helps break down the masses of toxic calcium oxalate (primary cause for stones) in the kidney.
Dietary fiber in barley reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted by the body through urine, restoring renal health and cleansing the kidneys.
Ways to prepare barley water:
- Boil 1 litre of water with a tablespoon of barley pearls and boil on a low flame for about 30 minutes or until the water has reduced to half.
- Strain and cool this mix and drink it through the day.
- Add lemon juice or honey to make the mix tasty
Regular use of barley water ensures that the renal system is hydrated, healthy and free of depositions such as renal stones. So, go ahead and add this elixir to your diet to ensure a healthy renal system and a healthier you. Eat healthy, stay healthy!
It is perfectly normal for women to experience the periodic monthly bleeding cycle. However, if a woman experiences uterine bleeding which is abnormal and dysfunctional, it could be a symptom of infection. Other causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include hormonal imbalance, infection in cervix and cancer of the uterus. Many women can also experience abnormal uterine bleeding during first trimester of pregnancy.
The following are considered to be abnormal or dysfunctional uterine bleeding:
- A menstrual cycles occurs between 21 to 35 days, anything shorter or longer than this is abnormal
- No period for 3–6 months (amenorrhea) is abnormal
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Spotting or bleeding after intercourse
- Bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usual
- Spotting or bleeding after menopause
What can cause such a situation?
Some of the common causes leading to abnormal bleeding are as follows:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Cervical or uterine infections
- Hormonal imbalances
- Problems with blood clotting
- Polycystic ovaries
- Endometrial hyperplasia
- Cancer of the reproductive tract
How to Diagnose it?
Most women tend to ignore abnormal bleeding, taking it as something to do with age or hormones. A detailed physical examination and history is done to understand menstrual cycle patterns and family history. In addition, the following would be used.
- Ultrasound: The pelvic organs are examined through sound waves to locate the problem area
- Hysteroscopy: Through a thin device that is inserted into the vagina, the doctor takes a look at the inside of the organs and identify the cause for the bleeding
- Endometrial biopsy: The uterine lining tissue is removed and examined under microscope to look for tissue changes that could be causing the bleeding
How Best to Treat It?
This would depend on the reason for the abnormal bleeding. However, in most cases, combinations of the following are useful in treatment.
- Hormone replacement can be done depending on the age and gynecological history, the type and the dose of the hormone would be decided upon. These could be in the form of tablets, vaginal creams, injections, or through an intrauterine device
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are useful in reducing bleeding and controlling cramps during excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Antibiotics may be useful if there is infection of the pelvic organs.
- Polyps, cysts, cancers, and other growths can be removed via hysteroscopy and sent for biopsy to confirm they are not cancerous.
- Endometrial ablation where the endometrial tissue is treated with heat can be used to control bleeding permanently.
- Hysterectomy would be done if other forms of treatment have failed. This could depend on their gynecologic history and other considerations as she cannot get pregnant after this.
Do not ignore if you see a change in the pattern of your uterine bleeding. It definitely calls for medical attention and if identified early, can be managed in much simpler ways.
Sir I have slip disk problem in l4 l5 Vert disk and pain in lower spine and pain goes to leg randomly both legs. This is from last 6 months What is easiest way to solve this problem.
Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyoma or myoma, are benign growths on the uterus, occurring mostly during the years of childbearing. Few of the common symptoms of fibroids are leg pain or backache, constipation, difficulty in emptying the bladder, frequent urination, pain or pressure in the pelvic region, menstrual periods stretching over a week and excessive menstrual bleeding.
Certain genetic changes of the uterus which are different from the ones normally present in the muscle cells of the uterus can cause this disorder.
Certain hormones such as progesterone and estrogen that prepare the body for pregnancy are even responsible for triggering the development of fibroids.
Substances which help the body maintain its tissues trigger fibroid growth as well.
Family history, excessive consumption of alcohol and red meat while going low on foods such as dairy products, fruits, green vegetables and vitamin D, obesity, usage of birth control pills and early onset of the menstruation cycle are other factors that may escalate the risks of one suffering from fibroids.
Be careful and take a closer look: Fibroids are fundamentally non-cancerous and they hardly interfere with pregnancy. Often, they do not exhibit notable symptoms and are prone to shrinkage after menopause. Hence giving them and yourself some time might be the best option.
Medications generally aim at the hormones controlling the menstrual cycle and treating symptoms such as pelvic pressure and excessive menstrual bleeding. However, they do not treat fibroids completely but work towards contracting them. They include-
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists to block estrogen and progesterone production
Progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) to alleviate severe bleeding caused due to fibroids
Tranexamic acid to ease excessive menstrual periods
Progestins or oral contraceptives to regulate menstrual bleeding
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease pain associated with fibroids
Surgeries to Treat Fibroids:
Depending on symptoms and whether medical therapy has failed, the patient may have to undergo surgery. The following surgical procedures may be considered:
Hysterectomy: removing the uterus. This is only considered if the fibroids are very large, or if the patient is bleeding too much. Hysterectomies are sometimes an option to prevent fibroids coming back.
Myomectomy: fibroids are surgically removed from the wall of the uterus. This option is more popular for women who want to get pregnant.
Endometrial ablation: removing the lining of the uterus. This procedure may be used if the patient's fibroids are near the inner surface of the uterus; it is considered an effective alternative to a hysterectomy.
UAE (Uterine artery embolization): this treatment cuts off the fibroid's blood supply, effectively shrinking the fibroid.
Magnetic-resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery: an MRI scan locates the fibroids, and sound waves are used to shrink the fibroids.
Sir I am 62 l have got disc prolapse of my spine spine. Backpain- radiated toy right leg causing severe pain please give remedy.
I am male 39 I have a problem of obesity combined with disk problem. If to reduce tummy I go for walk the backache develops. If I take rest for improving disk problem then tummy gets large. Suggest solution.
All healthy individuals will always have some amount of urea in the blood. Yet, when the urea level in the blood becomes too high, that means there is a malfunction in some part of the body due to which the body is not being able to remove this excess urea successfully. This urea can be formed in the liver when there is a process in terms of the protein metabolism's chemical balance. This urea is then transported to various parts of the body until the kidney cleans it out as urine. But when this urea does not get cleaned out properly, the urea gets concentrated in the blood and signifies a problem with the kidneys and other internal organs as well as the blood flow to the kidneys.
The cause may include burns, heart failure, renal artery embolism, vomiting and loose motions as well as more serious ailments like Diabetes. This can lead to long term kidney damage and symptoms like thirst, fluid retention, headaches, fatigue, dizzy spells, accelerated pulse, restlessness in limbs, pain in the abdomen and more. Here are the best ways to reduce the blood urea levels in a natural manner.
Ayurveda is an ancient science that can be used for the benefit of many patients suffering from chronic and painful ailments like diabetes, kidney failure, cardiovascular ailments and more. One of the mainstays of Ayurveda includes the use of herbs to create medicines and concoctions that will help in giving relief with their 100% natural elements. Medicines like Mutrakrichantak Churna, Punarnava Mandur, Varunadi Vati and many others can be used to avoid dialysis and bring down the urea levels in the blood by aiding better functioning of the kidneys.
- Punarnava: The name of this herb has been derived from two words - Puna and Nava. While Puna means again, Nava means new and together they help in renewed functioning of the organ that they treat. This herb helps in flushing out the excess fluid in the kidneys by reducing the swelling without any side effects. This herb is basically a kind of hogweed.
- Varun: This is the common caper which can be used to break down the stones present in the renal region and even as a cure for urinary tract infection. This herb helps in removing any element that may be obstructing the urinary tract and finally removes the excess fluid build up and inflammation.
- Gokshur: This is a diuretic that can be used as a herbal tonic to give strength to the weak kidney cells for regeneration.
Other aspects of Ayurvedic treatment for this condition include proper protein intake and better hydration along with massages and Yogic postures.
I am a 25 years old male, I have been suffering from bulging disk at l5-s1. I have been resting for 2 months, now my neck has started paining too and left pelvic joint is making popping sound everytime it is bend. So I got my blood acid checked. And its been 8 for last two months, I have been drinking like 6 lts water everyday. Is uric acid main reason of pain? And how can I get it down as I don't want to start the medicine so early in life and drinking water is not working. Please suggest, my career is suffering a lot.
I am 36 year old having problem of of disc slip in lumbar spine Dr. Asked for the surgery is only surgery is the option please suggest me other treatment.
Dear sir, I am 33 year old. I have back ache since 2010 mri also have been done it shown herniated slip disk and doctor has advised me surgery. But I am not willing to get surgery please advise me what should I do.
Ultra sound is commonly known as sonography. It is a process of reproducing ultrasound images of soft tissues of a particular body part and other organs on the computer screen with the help of the echoes of the sound waves produced by the transducer, a high-frequency generating instrument.
Ultra sound is commonly used during the different stages of pregnancy to denote the foetal health, date of delivery, birth defects etc. However, in recent times, the ultra sound has also been associated with the diagnosis of other body parts such as the eyes, heart, gall bladder, liver, ovary, uterus, kidney, uterus, testicles, and ovaries. Ultra sound has also been useful in conducting biopsies for suspecting cancer patients, although not all of the cancers are detected by this imaging process. 3D & 4D ultrasound imaging are useful for looking at a particular body portion with much more precision and in slow motion respectively.
The advantages of ultra sound are:
1. The process of ultrasound imaging is a painless and a fast one. It does not require any insertion of needles or similar objects to denote the problems of the concerned body part.
2. The process is more convenient as compared to other similar imaging processes like MRI, mammogram and x-rays as they can capture images of the soft tissues, blood flow & cysts more clearly than the other processes.
3. The process is free of any harmful effects as there are no chances of exposure to radiation as compared to similar processes such as CT scans or X-rays. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.