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We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here’s what you should look out for.
- Pain in Bones: Pain is one the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify ‘cancer’ as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
- Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
- Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
- Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should conduct a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Mri report- mild diffuse disc bulge at l4-l5 level causing the cal sac indentation and bilateral mild neural formalin narrowing (l> r). Please advice.
With the recent rise in number of breast cancer cases, 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 it.
Screening for Breast Cancer:
Screening can be done in 3 ways
- Self Breast Examination: Done every month after menstrual periods are over
- Clinical Breast Examination: If you have a doubt on self breast examination, you should go to a surgeon for further checkup.
- Mammography, Ultrasound or MRI of breast: Surgeon may order any of these If you have breast cancer then a surgery will be part of your treatment.
Based on the condition, surgery will be carried out due to any of the following reasons:
- To remove the cancerous tissues from the breast
- To check whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes below the arm
- To reconstruct the breast once the cancer is removed
- 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. Arm pit nodes if involved are also removed. A double mastectomy is a rare procedure where both the breasts are removed for cancer in both breasts.
- Breast-conserving surgery: In this surgery, only part 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 surrounding the cancer is also 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. She may also need medical treatment and/ or radiation therapy along with surgery.
- Breast Reconstruction: This is nowadays important aspect of breast cancer treatment. 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. One important thing is that early treatment and recent advances in breast cancer treatment can definitely make your life normal or extend it by many years. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!