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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.
Fibroid tumour is the abnormal cell growth in the uterus and they are mostly benign. Fibroids usually affect women in the age bracket of 30 - 40. Fibroid tumours are of three types, depending on their location:
- Submucosal fibroids: The tumour develops under the lining of the uterus
- Intramural fibroids: The growth is found amongst the muscles in the wall of the uterus
- Subserosal fibroids: The growth develops on the wall of the uterus right in the pelvic cavity
Causes behind it
The exact cause of fibroids in not known clearly. But certain factors have been discovered that might influence their formation. These factors include:
- Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen are the hormones responsible for recreating the uterine lining during every menstrual cycle. These hormones might trigger the formation of tumour.
- Family history: If any member in your family; your mother, grandmother or sister has/had fibroids in their uterus, you may also develop it.
- Pregnancy: Your body produces excessive progesterone and estrogen when you are pregnant, which may cause an increase in the size of a pre-existing small fibroid. Myomectomy can be done by giving incision on the abdomen or by laparoscopy depending on the size and location of the fibroids.
Signs You are suffering from it
- Heavy bleeding along with blood clots during or between your periods
- Lower back or pelvic pain
- Elevated menstrual cramping
- Frequent urination
- Pain during sex
- Longer than normal periods
- Bloating or pressure in lower abdomen
- Enlargement or swelling of the abdomen
How it can be treated?
Your doctor will formulate the right treatment depending on your age, the mass of the fibroids and your overall health. Your doctor may choose a combination of treatment to cure your fibroids, and they include:
- Medication: Gonadotropin releasing hormones (GnRH) agonists, birth control pills and ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory medicine) are prescribed. GnRH agonists reduce the level of progesterone and estrogen in your uterus.
- Surgery: Myomectomy and hysterectomy are two common surgical procedures to treat fibroids. Myomectomy is performed by removing the fibroids only by making an incision on the abdomen. But hysterectomy completely removes the uterus. The latter is reserved for serious cases.
- Non-invasive surgery: Forced ultrasound surgery, myolysis (shrinking fibroids with laser or electric current), cryomyolysis (fibroids are frozen) and endometrial ablation (an instrument uses heat, hot water, microwaves or electric current to destroy fibroids) are some non-invasive surgical procedures. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
A Herniated disc also known as a slip disc or prolapsed disc and it refers to the problem where one of the discs located in between the bones of the vertebrae(backbone) gets damaged and stacks itself upon the nerves. The tender inner portion of the disc gets protruded over the outer ring. Herniated disc causes severe neck pain and back pain. It occurs when the outer ring gets weak and tears down. The most common symptoms include pain and numbness, especially on one side of the body. The pain extends down to the arms and legs. It worsens during nighttime. The muscles become weak. Overweight people are likely to have this disease, as the discs carry extra weight. Old people are vulnerable to a slip disc.
Effects of Herniated Disc:
- An untreated case of Herniated disc may cause permanent damage to the nerves.
- In certain cases, a Herniated disc is capable of cutting off nerve impulses to the "caudal equine"nerves, present in the lower back and legs. This leads to loss of bladder control or bowel control.
- Saddle anaesthesia is another long-term effect. Nerves are compressed by the slip disc, causing loss of sensation in the inner portions of your thighs, the back of your legs and surrounding the rectum region.
- Symptoms may improve or worsen.
Diagnosis of Herniated Disc:
Treatment or diagnosis of Herniated disc or slipped disc can be either conservative or surgical in nature. The nature of treatment is determined according to your discomfort level and the kind of pain you are experiencing, or how much the disc has slipped out.
- The pain caused by Herniated disc can be relieved by undertaking an exercise schedule, which includes stretching and strengthening the spine and its surrounding muscles.
- A physiotherapist should be appointed for recommending the types of exercises.
- Taking pain relievers also soothes the pain.
- Stronger medicines prescribed by doctors include-muscle relaxants, narcotics to deal with the pain, medicines for nerve pain such as "gabapentin" or "duloxetine".
- In case of the symptoms not subsiding within a span of six weeks, a surgery may be recommended by your doctor. The surgeon may have to remove the damaged part of the disc. This surgery is called a microdiscectomy. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an orthopedist.
Please suggest. What does desiccated disc (L5-S1 ) mean? Is it serious? And what supplements should I take?
Breast cancer is usually genetic in nature and it may affect women whose mother or grandmother may have suffered from the disease. This disease may start from the inner portion of the milk duct, in which case it is called ductal carcinoma. In case the cancer initiated through the lobules, it is called lobular carcinoma. In order to find the existence of the disease on a timely basis, it is imperative to get regular screening done. This can also prevent the disease and its spread. Read on to find out more about symptoms and breast cancer screening methods.
There are many symptoms of breast cancer, which can point at the existence of the same. Therefore, it is imperative to be vigilant and take note of such changes and symptoms so that the disease may be tackled on time. Persistent and unexplained pain in and around the breasts is one of the major symptoms that one should not ignore. Also, dimpling and the formation of new lumps under the armpits are other changes that should be reported to the doctor for more advanced screening. Further, irritation and redness in the area which does not go away after the onset of periods and remains for many weeks, should be checked. Bleeding, swelling and pulling of the nipple area can also point at the existence of breast cancer.
How screeing can be done?
The doctor will, first of all, carry out a physical examination. This is due to the fact that breast cancer is not a mere existence of the lump. The various changes in the breasts as discussed above, especially dimpling of the breasts and pulling of the nipples, can point at the beginning of the disease, which must be tackled so as to prevent the full-fledged onset of the same. During this kind of clinical breast exam, the doctor will also show the patient how to conduct the test on her own every few weeks.
This is essentially an X-Ray of the breasts and is usually carried out for women who have been facing consistent symptoms or even for those who are going through menopause. This kind of a test should not be done too frequently as it can expose the patient to the risk of breast cancer, in case she does not already have the problem. This test is usually carried out with the help of a mammogram machine that will give a reading once the breasts are placed on the metal plates.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test seeks to create pictures of the area of the body in question with the help of radio waves. This is usually conducted for those patients who already run a high risk of breast cancer due to a family history of the same. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an IVF Specialist.
I am suffering from l5-s6 disc prolapse from a year. Not undergone surgery. Little weight lift becomes problem in next morning. Is there a permanent solution for my problem. Thanks in advance.
Different methods to treat Disc problems
Hello friends, I am Dr Gaurav Khera. I am an orthopaedic surgeon, doing joint replacements and spine surgeries at the Access healthcare. Now today I will be talking about the lumbar degenerative disc disease. Now it sounds very big, but it is not as complicated as it sounds. It basically is what you people commonly know as a disc disease. So it is a fairly common problem that is seen in our population today. In fact about 30 or 40% of the patients who come to our OPD have lower back pains, some have other disc problems and very commonly seen after 40 years of age and this incidence gradually increases up to 60-70 years of age. The other ecological factors which are associated with this are, first of all smoking, secondly it is, mild to moderate trauma, thirdly its seen in people who lift heavy weights, fourth is obesity, especially central obesity, that is if you have a very heavy waistline.
Now what is Lumbar degenerative disc disease? Now, our spine is composed of multiple bones, which are starting from your neck and they come all the way down to your hip, divided into the cervical, dorsal, lumbar and sacral spine. And between these bones, there are these small pieces of discs, which act as cushions. When your body walks, these act as shock absorbers between your body’s bones. Now this discs, when these come out of their normal place, it gives or presses against the nerves which are passing through these areas and it causes pain. This is what happens in the disc disease. Basically, in the patient it will come as a lower back pain, and this pain will be travelling down to the hip, and it will also be coming down to the legs. Some people complain that as they walk, the pain increases.
They also complain of tingling numbness. They complain that sometimes their fingers or their toes are feeling numb. These are some of the very common symptoms which are being seen. Few people may have only lower back pain, and these are the people who do not have very significant disc disease. Now there are two main causes of the disc disease. First is an inflammatory reaction that occurs in the disc, and second is the micro motion instabilities that occur. Inflammatory reactions may occur as a result of some small traumas which may occur such as when you may injure your back. Such inflammatory reactions occur in the form of small swellings in the body. And micro motion instabilities are when the body ages, the disc which has an outer fibrous thick layer, that degenerates, and as it degenerates, the pulp which is there at the centre, of the discs, tends to degenerate. What I mean is it comes out of its normal space. And as it comes out of the normal place, it comes and tends to press on the nerves and these are the two most common causes.
All disc patients are not to be operated. When we get these patients, the first and foremost investigation that we do is a X-Ray. And if required, we go in for a MRI. Frankly MRI is the known standard to diagnose the disc disease. The findings of a MRI are always coordinated with the clinical findings. Once we have diagnosed that it is a disc problem, we have to establish that what the compression on the nerves is. If the nerve compression is a lot, and if we think that we cannot do anything other than surgery, then we take the patient for a surgery.
If not, we take the patient fro physiotherapy, lifestyle changes and few medications. These medications may carry on for few weeks to few months. And a lot of exercise has to be carried on regularly. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, stoppage of smoking is very important. And if you can achieve this, then your problems are very easily solved. If you have any queries regarding your disc problems or back pains, then you can get in touch with me for the same.
You can reach me in my clinic, which is there in Indrapuri, by the name of Dr Khera’s Wellness Clinic or you can also contact me through Lybrate for the same. Thank You.
A mastectomy is surgical removal of a breast. The surgery depends on various factors and choosing a type of mastectomy best suited for an individual suffering from breast cancer requires experience and expertise. With advancing technology, there are more options available for women to opt for surgeries, which are minimally invasive and conserving in nature. Following are the various types of mastectomies and the factors, which influence them:
Types of Mastectomy
1. Total or simple mastectomy
This is a surgical procedure which involves complete removal of the breast including the nipple. The lymph nodes, which are small glands, are an important part of your immune system and are kept intact during the surgery. This form of surgery is most suitable if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
2. Preventive mastectomy
Preventive mastectomy, also known as prophylactic mastectomy, is an option for women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer. Preventive mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer by a huge margin. In certain cases, removal of the entire breast along with the nipple is advisable. Women who develop cancer on one breast often opt for preventive mastectomy and remove the other unaffected breast as well.
3. Partial mastectomy
Women who are in stage I or stage ii of breast cancer can choose this procedure. It is a breast conserving technique where the tumor is removed along with the tissue that surrounds it. It is followed up by radiation therapy on the remaining breast tissue, which terminates the cancer cells and stops them from spreading. There are two types of partial mastectomy, namely, lumpectomy and quadrantectomy.
4. Radical mastectomy
Although this procedure is almost out of use, it is still considered in case the cancer has spread to certain areas like the chest muscle. In this form of surgery, the breast is removed entirety along with muscles beneath it and the lymph nodes.
5. Modified mastectomy
It is a more commonly used procedure characterized by complete removal of the breast including underarm lymph nodes. The chest muscles are untouched in the procedure, therefore allowing a breast reconstruction to follow.
Factors influencing the type of mastectomy:
• Age of the individual
• Health in general
• Size of the tumor
• The spread of the tumor
• The rate of progression of the tumor
• Whether lymph nodes are affected or not
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.