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Hi, My father aged 68 has been prescribed TB medicines for Pott's disease. He has been taking the first line AKT4 medicines from govt. Hospital for the past 2 months. Now they have changed the medicine to continuation phase with AKT3. He had been taking 4 of AKT4 tablets post breakfast. Should he continue taking 4 of the AKT3 tablets as well and after breakfast? What is the dosage for him in the continuation phase for his weight 64 kg and the best time to take the medicines? The AKT4 tablet dosage and timing of the tablet was told to us by the RNTPC doctors. Finally, I want to know one more thing. He has been in bed rest for these last 2 months as he was in severe back pain (low back pain near the pelvis) though the abscess location was around the portion where the ribcage ends in the spine. He says the pain has reduces immensely to the point that he can move and even sit. He says standing is painless right now. Sitting gives him some pain. Overall he is a bit weak now. Recently I saw that his MRI shows a disc bulge around the pelvis but the doctors didn't tell us so. They focused entirely upon the spinal abscess. Could the current pain be from this disc bulge?
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.
The body produces a number of chemicals called hormones which are essential for the regulation of various functions including growth and metabolism. These hormones are produced by endocrine glands which are located in various parts of the body. One such important gland is the pituitary gland which produces the important growth hormone. This is essential for regulating optimal growth during the growing years and for maintaining proper amounts of body fat, muscles, and bones in the later years of life.
Causes: Deficiency of the growth hormones can occur due to a number of causes, some of which are listed below. It can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life.
The congenital issue could be due to problem in the pituitary gland structure, leading to complete absence or reduced secretion of the hormone.
With age, there is a decrease in the amount of secretion. However, infections, injuries, brain tumors, surgery and radiation can also lead to altered amounts of secretion.
Symptoms: While growth hormone deficiency can occur at any age, symptoms differ depending on the age when the deficiency sets in.
In the early ages:
- Lower rate of growth for a given age
- Delayed developmental milestones
- Delayed onset of puberty
- Short stature/reduced height
- Younger looking compared to other children their age
- Fat deposition around the waist
- Delayed dental development
When the deficiency sets in during the later years, there is
- Low energy levels, constant tiredness
- Decreased strength
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Decreased overall muscle mass
- Thin and dry skin
- Increased fat deposition and weight gain around the waist
- Changes in social behavior including alternate cycles of anxiety and depression
- Lack of motivation
- History of pituitary tumors
- High levels of fat and cholesterol
The diagnosis depends on the age of the person
- Blood tests are carried out to check the hormone levels in circulation
- In children, in addition to the hormone levels, x-rays to see the status of growth plates is very helpful.
- An insulin hypoglycemia test where insulin is given intravenously to see the levels of the growth hormone after 30 minutes.
- Total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and triglyceride levels can be used to supplement the above tests.
- CT scan and/or MRI of the brain may be needed if tumors are suspected.
Treatment: Once diagnosed, replacement therapy is given as shots a few times a week under the skin. This restores normal growth and helps in controlling the symptoms in adults too.
In cases of tumor, radiation or surgery may be required, but most cases are managed with hormone replacement.
Watch out for the symptoms if your child has delayed developmental milestones and early intervention can help restore growth and function to normal levels. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an endocrinologist.
Breast Cancer - What exactly is it?
‘Breast cancer’ is a term that is used to refer to a malignant tumour, which has developed from cells present in the breast. Generally, all tumours can be divided into two categories i.e. benign and malignant and it is the malignant tumour that is responsible for causing cancer. Breast cancer generally originates in the cells the milk producing glands of the breast's or the passage, which carries milk from the glands to the lobules. Additionally, breast cancer can also originate in the stromal tissues, including the fibrous and fatty connective breast tissues.
Breast Cancer: Treatment Options
Treatment for breast cancer depends upon two things: the exact type of the cancer and how advanced the cancer is. Treatment options for breast cancer can thus be broadly divided into two categories as Local treatments and Systemic treatments.
Treatments that target the tumour without having any effect on the rest of the body are called local treatments. The following types of local treatment options are available for treating breast cancer:
- Surgery: Surgical breast cancer treatment involves removal of the malignant cancerous tumour in an operation. Smaller tumours can be removed using a surgical process referred to as ‘lumpectomy’, wherein the tumour along with a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding the tumour is removed. For larger tumours, removal of the entire breast becomes mandatory, in a surgical process known as ‘mastectomy’. Women who undergo mastectomy can choose to undergo reconstructive plastic surgery for reconstruction of the removed breast(s).
- Radiation Therapy: This basically involves using radiation to kill cancer cells present in the body. Radiation therapy is a long-drawn process that usually involves a set number of treatments administered over a long period of time. Radiation therapy is also generally the follow-up procedure after a lumpectomy, or more rarely, a mastectomy.
Treatments involving drugs that are administered via either the mouth or direct injection into the bloodstream are called systemic treatments. These include:
- Chemotherapy: This includes using drugs to destroy the cancer cells present in the body by stopping the cancer cells from growing and dividing. Chemotherapy can be administered using either an IV (intravenous) tube or via pills that can be swallowed.
- Hormone Therapy: This treatment option is used for treating tumours which have tested positive for progesterone or oestrogen receptors. Blocking hormones that fuel the tumour’s growth is the basis of this therapy.
- Targeted Therapy: This targets specific proteins and genes which contribute to growth and survival of the cancer cells. Targeted therapy is an extremely focused treatment, and is very effective in blocking the growth and division of cancer cells, as well as minimizing damage to surrounding healthy cells.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
With the recent number of breast cancer cases on the rise, it is important that we should get the examination done on a regular basis as a preventive measure. Even if someone is suffering from it, it is important that we should make an effort and learn about.
- To remove the cancerous tissues from the breast
- To reconstruct the breast once the cancer is removed
- To check whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes below the arm
- To treat symptoms of cancer that has progressed to an advanced stage
Breast cancer surgery may be classified into two types
- Mastectomy: Mastectomy involves removing the entire breast; tissues in the adjoining region may also be removed. A double mastectomy is a procedure where both the breasts are removed.
- Breast-conserving surgery: In this surgery, only parts of the breast affected by cancer are removed. The area of the breast that is to be removed will depend on the severity of the cancer. Some healthy tissues may also be removed in this surgery.
Usually, if a woman is in the initial stages of cancer then she may opt for the latter as it entails removing parts of the breast. They may also undergo radiation therapy along with these surgeries.
For checking if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes below the arm, the lymph nodes are removed from the body. Once they are removed, they are studied under a microscope to check if it has spread, if yes then the extent of their damage. This procedure is carried out along with the surgery to remove the cancer.
Once the mastectomy procedure is completed, you can opt for a breast reconstruction surgery to rebuild the area. You may opt for this procedure at the time of breast cancer removal or at a later stage. If you are considering breast reconstruction surgery then you should discuss it with your surgeon.
Surgery is sometimes not used to treat cancer, but in slowing the progression of cancer or even reducing its symptoms.It is important you talk to your surgeon before the procedure to understand the goal of the surgery.
A uterine cyst, also called as ovarian cyst, is the formation of a fluid-filled sac within the ovary of a woman. Uterine cysts may sometimes cause several physical symptoms. They can cause great pain and unpleasant sensations. Most cysts go away by themselves, but still sufficient measures should be taken to deal with the inconvenience caused by a uterine cyst. In severe cases, the cyst can damage the ovaries. Scar tissue is also likely to build up in such cysts to form an adhesion, which causes discomfort.
Uterine cysts can cause great damage to the sexual organs of a woman, and hence, it should never be ignored. Here are 5 ways to deal with uterine cysts:
Using Birth Control Pills: In case of recurrent uterine cysts, you can take oral contraceptives with the prescription of a doctor. This will prohibit ovulation, and the development of new cysts will be prevented. The risk of ovarian cancer is also reduced.
Laparoscopy: In case the cyst is small, a laparoscopy surgery can be conducted by a doctor. This will enable the surgical removal of the cyst. The process of laparoscopy involves making of a small incision around the navel region. A small instrument or device is inserted into the abdomen, which removes the cyst.
Laparotomy: Laparotomy is a surgical procedure of removing a large uterine cyst. This procedure is applied when a cyst becomes too large to be removed using laparoscopy. The procedure involves the removal of the cyst via an incision made in the abdomen. An immediate biopsy is conducted and in case the cyst is found out to be cancerous, a hysterectomy surgery is conducted, which removes the ovaries and uterus completely.
Herbal Tea: Moving from medical procedures to natural ways for dealing with uterine cysts, herbal tea is believed to be one of the best natural treatments for uterine cysts. Herbal tea helps in the breakdown of large cysts and the side effects of the cysts such as discomfort or pain are eased. Have a cup of herbal tea every day to get rid of uterine cysts.
Diet: Uterine cysts may develop due to an unhealthy diet. Modern food items contain synthetic and natural estrogens, which cause disruption in ovarian health. Consuming adulterated meat, where the animals are given hormones, and antibiotics may result in uterine cysts. Soy contains a great amount of estrogen, which leads to uterine cysts. All the food items which may lead to ovarian cysts should be avoided.
Uterine cysts are common in women and are caused due to several complications. You should not let uterine cysts develop as development increases severity.