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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 have a herniated disk (bulged disk/slip disk) at c7 and the c7 nerve is compressed for last 2 months. Do you have treatment in ayurveda ?
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.
Hi doctor. I have a severe backache as per Dr. Advice I have done mri. My mri report is as under kindly advise in matter degenerative lumber spondylitis are seen in the form of marginal osteophytes and multilevel disc dessication. 1. D12-l1 & l1-l2 discs show mild bulge, indenting anterior thecal sac without significant never root compression 2. L2-l3 disc reveals right paracentral disc extrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing right lateral recess narrowing, impinging on right traversing l3 nerve root. 3. L3-l4 disc shows mild diffuse disc protrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing, minimally abutting bilateraltraversing l4 nerve roots. 4. L4-l5 disc reveals mild diffuse disc protrusion, indenting anterior thecal sac and causing bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing, minimally abutting right existing l4 nerve root-bilateral traversing l5 nerve roots. Nerve roots. Cord is seen ending at d11 vertebral level. Distal cord and conus appear normal. Both hip and si joints are normal. No pre / paravertebral, epidural soft tissue or haematoma is seen. Bilateral psoas and posterior paraspinous muscles are normal. Please advise for home exercise / medicine.?
I am 42 year old female .After slip disc L1toL4 problem, pain in left heel and becomes severe at times. Is it spur in the foot ,slip disc or something else.
Bone cancer is a cancerous tumour in the bone, destroying the normal bone tissues. Tumours on bone tissues are not always cancerous or malignant, they are mostly benign. Primary bone cancer is when the malignant tumour begins to form in the tissues of the bones, but when these cancerous cells spread to other body parts like breasts, prostate or lungs, it is called metastatic cancer. Primary bone cancer is less common than metastatic cancer.
Bone cancer can be of three different types:
Osteosarcoma: In this case, the malignant tumour arises from the osteoid bone tissue. This occurs mainly in the upper arm and knee areas.
Chondrosarcoma: In this case the cancerous cells form in the cartilaginous tissues, causing a lot of pain. This occurs mostly in the pelvic area.
The Ewing sarcoma generally arises in the bone but it can also form in the soft tissues. Other kinds of soft tissues affecting cancerous cells are known as soft tissue sarcomas.
There aren’t many clear defined causes; however, several factors have been identified by researchers.
Osteosarcoma is seen to occur more frequently in people who have been through a high external radiation therapy dose.
In people who have frequently been treated with anticancer medications, children tend to be most affected.
Heredity may be an adding cause, although the percentage of hereditary transfer of cancer cells is very low.
People with hereditary bone defects or implants have a higher chance of acquiring bone cancer.
The most common and saddening symptom of bone cancer is painful, although not all bone cancers cause pain. Unusual or persistent swelling or pain around a bone maybe a red flag for bone cancer. In case of a situation like this, immediate doctor’s opinion is required.
Usually, diagnosis of a bone cancer can be made using X-rays; for example, a bone scan, a computed tomography scan, a magnetic imaging procedure—positron emission tomography, and an angiogram. Biopsy and blood tests are also helpful in bone cancer diagnosis.
The size, location and stage of cancer, age, and health of the person decide the kind of treatment that should be given to the patient. Various treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and cryosurgery.
The combined survival rate of all sorts of bone cancers is 70%. This percentage may vary with the type of bone cancer and also its stage.
I am 55 year, last 4 month back Dr. Report slip disk Dr. Suggest me complete rest. I am admitted in hospital 9 day. Some relief but now also problem I can not sit more than 1 hours. If I seat both leg heavy & just. I cannot put my leg in ground
I am a 30 years old male and since last 3 months I was having pain in right leg whenever I used to walk. My doctor advised me Lumbosacral MRI and my findings are as under: 1. Lumbar lordosis is mildly straightened. 2. Disc desiccation noted at L5-S1 noted. 3. Posterior disco osteophytes complex seen at L5-S1 level causing canal stenosis measuring 7mm and bilateral lateral recess stenosis, causing compression upon traversing S1 nerve roots and mild foramina narrowing with abutting bilateral L5 nerve roots. 4. Mild diffuse disc bulge at L4-5 level causing indentation of thecal sac with early lateral recess stenosis, however no significant neural compression seen.
I have disc bulge and getting pain in my left leg. I have MRI report my nerve is compressed of left leg.
Sir I am 62 l have got disc prolapse of my spine spine. Backpain- radiated toy right leg causing severe pain please give remedy.
The most powerful and amazing organ in our body is the brain. It differs from many other organs of our body not only by its shape, but also by its special type of cell called neurons. When these cells gets affected or dead it can never be reverted or regenerated which is the most exclusive nature found only in brain cells. The cells in other parts of our body has the capacity to regenerate (can be replaced or new one can be grown or produced), but brain cells are exception. Hence any damage to the brain, injury or trauma is really a crucial thing to be considered with utmost care.
Brain surgeries really need skill, proper training, confidence and intelligence to perform this highly complicated and risky surgery.
Brain surgeries are performed to:
- Remove the brain tissues that are grown abnormally
- Aneurysm is clipped to prevent flow of blood cliff off an aneurysm
- Biopsy purpose or to remove the tumour
- Make a nerve free
- Drain the abnormal blood or clot collection or to drain any excessive fluid collection caused by infection.
- To implant artificial electronic device as a treatment for conditions like Parkinson’s disease
- Biopsy: A part of brain tissue is removed for the brain or whole tumour is removed.
- Craniotomy: The skull bone is opened to remove tumour, an aneurysm and drain fluid or blood from infection.
- Minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery: Endoscopic devices are inserted through the nose to remove the lesions or tumour.
- Minimally invasive neuroendoscopy: Similar to endonasal surgery but small incision is made.
- Anaesthesia risks like breathing difficulty, allergic reaction to medications, excessive bleeding or clots and infection.
- Risk related to the brain surgeries are seizures, coma, swelling of brain, infection to brain or meanings, surgical wound infection that intrudes to the brain structures, abnormal clot formation and bleeding.
- General risks include muscle weakness, disturbances in memory, speech, vision, coordination, balance and other functions that are controlled by the brain. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a neurosurgeon.
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 am 63 year old. I am having sciatica, back pain and numbness in both legs. I do not have BP and my sugar level is with in limit. As per CT scan report the impression are as follows: Lumbar Spondylitis with Disc herniation at L4-5, L3-4 levels and disc bulge at L5-S1 level. Canal stenosis at L4-5 level. Cervical spondylosis - Decreased height of C5 and C6. Vertebral bodies with end plate irregularities at C4-C7 levels. Disc bulge at C3-4 level. Disc herniation with canal stenosis at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7 levels. Can it be cured with Homeopathy.
Cerebral ischaemia or brain ischemia is a medical condition that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, resulting in an unmet metabolic demand. This leads to limited oxygen supply in the brain, which could result in death of brain tissues, cerebral infarction or an ischemic stroke. Thus, a cardiorespiratory arrest, a stroke, and irreversible brain damage are few possible consequences of cerebral ischaemia.
People with compressed blood vessels, low blood pressure, congenital heart defects or sickle cell anaemia have a high risk of developing cerebral ischaemia, since compressed blood vessels or very low pressure can lead to restricted blood flow. Also, sickle-shaped cells have a greater tendency to clot, causing obstructed blood flow.
Patients with cerebral ischaemia experience a host of symptoms, such as weakness in the body, problems in coordination and movement, vision and speech impairment and unconsciousness.
Cerebral congestion, on the other hand, refers to excessive quantity of blood in the brain vessels, causing pressure on the cerebral substance. Cerebral congestion is of two types. It is termed as active when there is too much arterial blood flow and passive when there is undue quantity of venous blood in the veins of the brain. Both conditions cause symptoms, such as severe headache, insomnia, irritability and unconsciousness. The patient gets little sleep and is disturbed, often followed by dreams. When awake, the patient’s mental activity in the brain is very high.
Homeopathy is now a well-established school of medicine backed with years of research and practice. Gone are the days when homeopathy was considered no more than an extension of herbal home remedies. Homeopathic laboratories around the world produce large number of medicines covering almost all ailments. The benefits of homeopathic treatment are now well established due to its holistic approach and minimal side effects. Homeopathy is undoubtedly a ray of hope for patients with cerebral ischaemia and cerebral congestion, as it delivers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to target the signs and symptoms of the disease and address its non-occurrence.
The medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headache, vomiting, insomnia, stroke/convulsions and seizures. The stramonium drug, for example, deals with seizures. Belladonna is an effective remedy for sharp shooting headaches, a common symptom of cerebral congestion. Ferrum is believed to be a valuable remedy for brain ischaemia. Few drugs deal with the symptoms of both ischaemia and congestion—nux is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischaemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion. Similarly, phosphorus can be used to treat brain ischaemia and congestion. Zincum metallicum is a highly recommended drug for chronic cases of ischaemia.
The treatment is comprehensive and long term and shows substantive results. Regular follow-ups and consultation with a homeopath specialist is the key to an effective treatment.