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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 am 24yr old male and have backache for 7 month. My mri report is mild annular disc bulge is seen at l4-5 level with subtle anterior thecal sac impression. What should I do?
I have severe lower back pain for last 18 years which increases during periods. I'm 32 years old and unmarried. It's constant, it always pains. Is it slip disc or what Please help.
The brain is not a stagnant realm fed with a granted quota of intelligence and memory at birth. It is always in a state of flux. Exercising your brain in various ways accelerates its ability to perform better. It is in your hands to have a sharper take on situations and occurrences. Playing games that require brainstorming, solving quizzes, crosswords or playing chess makes you feel rejuvenated and tired at the same time; the reason being activated brain cells. A healthy brain will affect your life decisions positively and you probably will think rightly before you leap.
Tips to exercise those brain cells:
- Meditate and calm your mind: Ten minutes of meditation each day can help you get over anxiety. When your mind is at peace you think out pros and cons with enhanced insight. This composure reflects in each of your actions. Meditation demands your brain to be quiet when it is accustomed to work; you therefore have greater control over it.
- Music can improve your brain abilities: Music is the best antidote for a sloppy brain. Music excites the neurons healing a bruised memory. It gifts you with clarity of thought. Apart from listening to music one must try to play a musical instrument. Teaching yourself things puts your mind through a strict regimen of constructive activities.
- Take out time to learn a new language: We are paralyzed the minute our brain gives up. Due to several external and internal reasons each one of us is likely to suffer from cognitive disorders on being subjected to extreme pressure or shock. Trying to learn a new language motivate your brain cells to have a wider vocabulary, which further restricts your chances of brain damage.
- Mental mathematics could better your intelligence: Calculators, computers and phones are ridding us of our ability to compute individual data. Computation and consolidation of data helps your mind to work faster with precision. So, you now know those lessons on mental mathematics in childhood were actually the key to a well rounded brain.
- Think of something novel: The more the number of neurons the merrier is your brain. Take pains to direct your mind on a novel track. Thinking beyond what is given and expected helps your brain grow new neurons. It builds up your creativity letting you discover more of your capabilities. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am 52 years old female ad suffering ductal carcinoma. First Stage in left breast. Where to consult and how much time will be taken and what cost to be expense.
My mother is a diagnosed case of carcinoma right breast. Her surgery has been done on 28.05.2017. N her infected breast has been removed completely and also in pet/whole body scan it has been found that cancer is not spread to other part of body. After surgery they did biopsy report where it is found that In my mother breast cancer cell her 2/neu is 3+ and comment Her 2 gene amplification issue at18-20% of invasive breast cancer as per biopsy report. Staging is-mpT2N0Mx. The consulting doctor has said that in her case only chemotherapy is required no radiation required but now after last 6th chemotherapy over on 11.10.3017 he said that radiation will also be done. It will take 3 week 5 days in each week? Pls Sir/mam guide why he is saying about radiation now? Is that for business or it really necessary. What is the side effect of radiation? Plss pls guide sir/mam. Thanks in advance.
I Suffering from bulging disc in My L1S5 Region Due To Which It Gets Difficult For me to work out Please Suggest me some Solutions To permanently recovery.
I am suffering from slip disc problem can you suggest some precaution it is in first stage and can you give tips for exercising .as of now I am taking bed rest since 2 weeks as suggested by rheumatologist dr.
My MRI report says, Mild posterior broad base protrusion of L4-L5 intervertebral disc resultant mild central and lateral canal narrowing causing mild compression over thecal sac and right traversing L5 nerve root. I am doing bed rest from 10 days, what's the report says.
The uterus or womb, is a muscular structure and is held in place by ligaments and pelvic muscles. If these muscles or tendons become weak, they cause prolapse and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place.
Uterine prolapse happens when the uterus falls or slips from its ordinary position and into the vagina or birth waterway. It could be complete prolapse or even incomplete at times. A fragmented prolapse happens when the uterus is just hanging into the vagina. A complete prolapse depicts a circumstance in which the uterus falls so far down that some tissue rests outside of the vagina. Likewise, as a lady ages and with a loss of the hormone estrogen, her uterus can drop into the vaginal canal. This condition is known as a prolapsed uterus.
Risks: The risks of this condition are many and have been enumerated as follows:
- Complicated delivery during pregnancy
- Weak pelvic muscle
- Loss of tissue after menopause and loss of common estrogen
- Expanded weight in the stomach area, for example, endless cough, constipation, pelvic tumors or accumulation of liquid in the guts
- Being overweight
- Obesity causing extra strain on the muscles
- Real surgery in the pelvic zone
Symptoms: Some of the most common symptoms of prolapse involve:
- Feeling of sitting on a ball
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Increase in discharge
- Problems while performing sexual intercourse
- Seeing the uterus coming out of the vagina
- A pulling or full feeling in the pelvis
- Bladder infections
Nonsurgical medications include:
- Losing weight and getting in shape to take stress off of pelvic structures
- Maintaining a distance from truly difficult work
- Doing Kegel workouts, which are pelvic floor practices that strengthen the vaginal muscles. This can be done at any time, even while sitting down at a desk.
- Taking estrogen treatment especially during menopause
- Wearing a pessary, which is a gadget embedded into the vagina that fits under the cervix and pushes up to settle the uterus and cervix
- Indulging in normal physical activity
Some specialists use the following methods to diagnose the problem:
- The specialist will examine you in standing position keeping in mind you are resting and request that you to cough or strain to build the weight in your abdomen.
- Particular conditions, for example, ureteral block because of complete prolapse, may require an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or renal sonography. Color is infused into your vein, and an X-ray is used to view the flow of color through your urinary bladder.
- An ultrasound might be utilised to rule out any other existing pelvic issues. In this test, a wand is used on your stomach area or embedded into your vagina to create images of the internal organ with sound waves.