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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.
1. Eat calcium-rich foods
In addition to dairy products, choose fish with bones such as salmon, sardines or whitebait. For additional benefits, serve them with a side of dark leafy green vegetables or broccoli. Almonds, dried figs, fortified tofu and soy milk are also calcium-rich choices, says registered dietitian laura jeffers, med, rd, ld.
2. Take calcium supplements
The u. S. Recommended daily allowance for calcium is 1, 000 mg a day during your 20s, 30s and 40s. But your need rises as you age. Check with your doctor before starting supplements to find out what amount is right for you. For example, after menopause, most women need 1000 to 1, 500 mg a day unless they take hormone therapy. Your body only absorbs 500 mg of calcium at a time, Ms. Jeffers notes, so spread your consumption out over the course of the day.
3. Add d to your day
To help absorb calcium, most adults need 1, 000 to 2, 000 iu of vitamin d daily, combined calcium-vitamin d pills usually do not meet this requirement. And most of us who live north of atlanta do not get enough vitamin d the old-fashioned way — from the sun. Taking a vitamin d supplement will ensure you meet your daily needs.
4. Start weight-bearing exercises
To boost your bone strength, try exercise that “loads” or compresses your bones, says exercise physiologist heather nettle, ma. “running, jogging, high-impact aerobics, repetitive stair climbing, dancing, tennis and basketball are best for building bones. But if you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or arthritis, try walking or using an elliptical or other machine,” she says. Be sure to clear any exercise plans with your doctor first.
5. Don’t smoke, and don’t drink excessively
Bad news for bad habits: loss of bone mineral density is associated with tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, Dr. Sikon says. If you smoke, look into a program to help you quit. If you drink, stick to no more than one libation a day, she advises.
6. Get your bone mineral density tested
Doctors can get a quick and painless “snapshot” of bone health using a simple x-ray test called dxa. This test measures bone mineral density and helps determine risks of osteoporosis and fracture. Dr. Sikon recommends testing for women within two years of menopause. Earlier tests are recommended for men and women with certain diseases and for those taking medications that increase risk, such as long-term steroid therapy.
Perimenopausal women may consider hormone therapy to increase waning estrogen levels, which are linked to bone loss. And women and men diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis can take various medications to prevent dangerous hip and spine fractures.
I am 33 years old, I have backache from last 1 year, x ray indicate there is borderline slip disk, what kind of precaution can I take for future?
I'm 25 years old. I've mild disk bulge in L4 and L5. Whether I can lead normal life or not? And it's curable completely or not? Pls tell me.
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.
Uterine cancer is also known as endometrial cancer. It is a cancer which begins in the lining of the uterus. The uterus is the part of a woman's body where the fetus develops. Uterine cancer is one of those rare cancers in India, which can be diagnosed in its early stages. This is because excessive vaginal bleeding occurs, thus making it a very serious and an apparent symptom. It is also one of the few forms of cancer which can be cured as removing the uterus is often more than enough to cure the patient of uterine cancer.
Here are the causes, diagnosis and treatment of uterine cancer:
The exact cause of uterine cancer is not yet known, however, there is a theory on what causes uterine cancer. Hormones in a woman's body have been thought to increase the chances of getting uterine cancer. This is because it has long been thought that having high levels of estrogen is the cause of uterine cancer. Increased estrogen thickens the endometrium and thus, increases the likelihood of uterine cancer.
There are several tests used to diagnose whether you have uterine cancer including:
1. Pelvic exam: This is an examination in which the vagina, bladder, rectum and uterus are scanned for lumps. If they are found, it might be due to uterine cancer.
2. Pap test: A pap test is a special test designed to scan for uterine cancer.
3. Transvaginal ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound uses high-intensity sound waves so that pictures of the uterus can be taken.
4. Biopsy: During a biopsy, the doctor will remove tissue from the endometrium and it will then be analyzed for cancerous growths.
1. Surgery: This is the most common treatment as it removes the entire uterus and prevents the spreading of the cancer.
2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves giving drugs which kill cancerous cells. They are given through either an intravenous line or even in pill form.
3. Hormone therapy: This is a therapy in which either progesterone levels are increased or estrogen levels are decreased.
4. Radiation therapy: In this treatment, high energy laser beams are used to destroy cancerous cells.
Can Physiotherapy Cure cervical disc prolapse and L5 S1 Disc bulge.I am suffering from Neck pain for the Past 6 years
Flattening of thoracic curvature ,to some extent .diminution of disc spaces with small osteophytes formation at the adjacent vertebral margins at T4>T8. No other obvious abnormality IMPRESSION - (Early/min) spondylitis changes -Mid-thoracic spine This is my x ray report please tell me is that a major problem or it can be heal with medicine and exercise and what r the reason for this. Please tell.
You know that feeling after a long day when your feet are so sore or swollen that you can’t bear the thought of standing on them for any longer? once you take off your shoes and sit down, or even soak them in a warm bath, it’s still an unpleasant experience. Luckily, I’ve collected 10 natural remedies for such an occasion and I want to share them with you.
Important: regular swelling vs potential health risks
When experiencing swelling in the feet and legs, apply pressure to the area with a finger. If the dimple created by the finger remains for more than a couple of seconds, it may indicate oedema, which can be the result of heart, liver, or kidney problems. When this occurs, see a doctor at the first possible opportunity.
If you experience swelling in one leg but not the other, you should also see a doctor as this may be an indication of deep venous thrombosis (a blood clot blocking the blood vessels).
If the swelling is accompanied by shortness of breath, fever, bluish skin, and chest pains, get immediate medical attention.
10 natural remedies:
1. Soak your feet in epsom salts
Pour 250g of epsom salt into a hot bath, and take a nice long soak. You can also add essential oils to the mix for enhanced relaxation. Your feet will thank you, your body will thank you, and you’ll emerge from that bath a happier person.
2. Massage the area
Massaging the painful area increases blood flow and moves the fluids that accumulate and cause the swelling. If you want to indulge, get someone to massage your feet for you, preferably with hot essential oils.
3. Stop smoking
If you smoke tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, etc.), you should know that one of the many negative effects of nicotine is constriction of blood vessels, which can lead to sore feet.
4. Stay hydrated
When the caffeine and sodium we consume accumulate in the body, they can cause swelling and pain in the limbs. The best way to dilute them and flush them out is by drinking water. If you want to maximize the efficiency of hydration, squeeze a lemon or lime into the glass of water for a boost of vitamins and antioxidants.
5. Eat healthy, avoid excess salt
While we need salt for our body to function well, when we overdo it, it can have adverse effects. Reduce the amount of salt you consume every day, and consider cutting down on caffeine as well.
6. Elevate the legs
If you’re suffering from chronically sore legs/feet, try keep your legs elevated for 30 minutes, three times a day. You will notice a difference within a couple of days. Also, when you’re in bed, use a couple of pillows to prop up your feet. Elevating the legs helps to drain the excess fluids that causes the swelling and pain.
7. Avoid sitting for prolonged periods
Whether you’re flying, taking the bus, or just sitting in an office all day, keeping your legs stationary can lead to pain and swelling. If you know you’re going to sit for a long period of time, make sure to stand up, stretch, and walk around every 20 minutes or so.
8. Use compression socks when traveling
If you’re going to fly overseas, another excellent solution is to use compression socks. These socks apply pressure to your feet, preventing fluid from building up – the main cause of swelling and pain in the feet.
Exercise will help boost your cardiovascular system, which in turn will reduce the possibility of swelling in the limbs. Exercise increases blood-flow in the body and reduces weight.
10. Take magnesium supplements
Magnesium is essential for our body’s function. That said, many people suffer from a magnesium deficiency. By adding magnesium to your system, you will improve your overall health, reduce hangover symptoms and suffer less pain in your extremities
I am a 38 year old married lady with 2 kids. I have herniated disc of l5 s1 with mild detention as detected in mri. What is the treatment? I am really scared. Is it dangerous?
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.
Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of the neck may become the reason behind severe neck pain. They sometimes take too much space and compress the nerves branching out from the spinal cord.