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One of the things that Shannen Doherty and Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks, have in common, apart from their fame is that both were affected by breast cancer. No matter how normal a person may seem, breast cancer can strike anyone. In fact, it usually strikes one in eight women. So, it makes good sense to know what it can appear as!
Breast cancer makes up a rather big amount of the general cancer cases as 15% of the cancer cases which are reported on a yearly basis are usually breast cancer cases. That being said, there are quite a few things which can be done in order to reduce a person’s risk to breast cancer.
Prevention is Prudent-
Get Fit: The first thing which should be done is that a reasonable level of fitness should be maintained. Many studies have found that if a person is significantly heavier than her recommended weight, she is at a far great risk to develop all sorts of cancer and breast cancer, in particular, than a person who is able to keep her weight in check. The difference in cancer risk rates is about 40%. This is because a greater amount of fat leads to more estrogen being produced, which increases the risk of breast cancer.
Quit Smoking: While most people associate smoking as something which increases the risk of cancer to the lungs and are not aware that it increases the risk of breast cancer, too. So, the best solution is to kick the habit!
Get Off the Pill: Once a woman crosses past her mid-thirties, she should try to avoid relying on birth control pills to reduce the risk of pregnancy. This is because these pills have an effect which increases the risk of breast cancer, which heightens as a woman gets older. As long as the woman cuts out the use of the pill, the risk quickly gets cut, as well.
Get Regular Check Ups: While screening for breast cancer by making use of mammograms does not cut the risk of it, the screening helps detect breast cancer early if it does exist. As a result, a woman has a much better chance of fighting breast cancer. So, a woman who is past the age of forty should try to have a mammogram on an annual basis with the frequency of the same increasing as she gets older. However, it is to be kept in mind that going for a mammogram too often is also not a good idea as the tests themselves pose risks of DNA changes.
Women all around the world are susceptible to breast cancer. While there isn’t a 100% chance of avoiding it, taking care of yourself and leading a fit and active lifestyle can significantly cut down your risk of contracting this condition. Remember, your health is in your hands, so the earlier you start, the better! In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
With the modernization of all economies around the world, one health hazard that has become one of the largest perils within both developed and developing nations is the incidence of cancers of the female reproductive system, especially cervical and breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the formation of malignant tumors within the breast tissues of a woman. Usually, breast cancer affects women in the age range of 40 to 50, but there have been many reports of it occurring earlier. About 48 % percent of the Indian women having breast cancer have been reported to be under 50. This is an almost 17 percent jump compared to figures 25 years earlier.
Alarming Signs of Breast Cancer:
- The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded.
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Screening Guidelines for Breast cancer:
- Mammography: US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends mammography once in every 2 year for females between age group 50-75 years. Women with a family history has a benefit of starting at age 40 years. After 75 years there are insufficient evidence of benefit of screening mammography.
- Breast Self Examination and annual Clinical examination: breast self examination is easy to learn and and any abnormality should be reported to the oncologist.
- For High Risk/ Genetic risk factors: screening should start by age 25 or 10 years earlier of youngest relative affected. Annual mammogram and MRI or Doppler ultrasound alternating at 6 month interval can be considered.
Some of the common treatment options for breast cancers are:
- Breast conservation surgery - This is where the tumors are removed without cutting out too much of the surrounding breast tissue.
- Mastectomy - If the cancer has spread too far then large amounts of breast tissue has to be removed along with the tumor to stop its spread any further.
- Sentinel lymph node Biopsy - it's part of both surgical procedures, it decreases morbidities of lymph node dissection first draining lymph nodes only are removed in patients with clinically negative axilla. If negative on frozen section further axillary dissection is avoided. It avoids the morbidity of complete axillary clearance.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Uterine fibroids are referred to as benign, abnormal growths which tend to develop in the uterine walls of a woman. The size of such growths can range from a few centimeters to even excess of a few inches. As such, they can cause the uterus to increase to the size of a five month pregnancy. Although, the symptoms of fibroids are not always apparent, they often cause heavy bleeding and pain in women. A recent research concluded that around 60 to 75 percent women contract such fibroids by the age of 50, at least once in their life.
Depending on the site of formation, uterine fibroids are distinguished into different types. Intramural fibroids in the lining of the uterus and subserosal fibroids which develop outside the uterus are the most commonly observed fibroids.
What causes Uterine Fibroids?
Although, the exact reason for the formation of fibroids are obscure, medical professionals have determined certain factors that may affect their formation. Some of them are:
1) Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle and trigger the growth of fibroids.
2) Family history: If you have had a family history of uterine fibroids, then you're likely to develop the condition yourself as well.
What are the signs of the condition?
Depending on the location and size of the tumors, symptoms of such fibroids include:
1) Heavy bleeding and blood clots during periods
2) Pain in the pelvis
3) Frequent menstrual cramps
4) Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen
5) Swelling in the abdomen
6) Pain while intercourse
What is the procedure of the treatment?
Ultrasound and pelvic MRI are common diagnostic procedures to check for uterine fibroids. After diagnosis, depending on your age, size of the fibroid and your comprehensive health, the doctor would prescribe you with appropriate medications. Only after medications prove futile, doctors opt for minimally invasive surgeries. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
In case you have a diseased uterus, which makes you infertile, you can undergo a procedure known as uterus transplant or uterine transplant to get pregnant. In the process of sexual reproduction, a diseased uterus does not allow embryonic implantation. This factor is referred to as uterine factor infertility or UFI. As a result, you will not be able to get pregnant.
Who requires a uterus transplant?
This procedure involves women who have UFI and women who had their uterus removed by hysterectomy. Women who have a damaged uterus on account of an injury or infection, which does not function anymore, can also undergo a uterus transplant procedure. Women from the age of 21 to 45 are eligible for this procedure. Many women are born without having a uterus. This condition is called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.
Uterus transplantation begins with undertaking a uterus retrieval surgery on the uterus donor. The uterus, which is recovered has to be stored and transported to the location of the patient undergoing the transplant. An ischemic tolerance may last over 24 hours. Three major surgeries have to be carried out with the recipient. Firstly, a transplantation surgery is required in which the donor’s uterus gets transplanted. In case pregnancy develops, a caesarean section surgery has to be performed. The patient is given immune suppressive therapy. After childbirth, a hysterectomy is done in order to terminate the immune suppressive therapy.
Will the women be able to get pregnant after having sex?
Women receiving a uterus transplant will not be capable of becoming pregnant without undergoing fertility treatments. The transplanted uterus is not connected with the fallopian tubes, which is the location of the normal fertilisation process. The women will require to carry out IVF or in vitro fertilisation to become pregnant after a uterus transplant. IVF is a process in which the eggs are removed from the ovaries and get fertilised in a laboratory. Then, they are implanted in the uterus. After undergoing the uterus transplant procedure, a woman has to wait for a period of one year. The uterus requires time for healing and after recovery, the embryo may be implanted for pregnancy. After giving birth successfully, a woman will be able to keep the transplanted uterus.
She has the option to get pregnant again. However, after giving birth twice, a hysterectomy must be carried out for the removal of the uterus. This is done so that the woman can stop using the immune suppressant drugs, which are associated with major risks. Uterus transplant is a relatively new technology. In October 2014, the first healthy baby was born to a woman who had undergone a uterus transplant. This surgery is kind of experimental in nature and is usually the last option for getting pregnant. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to get out of control. These cells are mostly in the form of a tumor that can be regularly seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is dangerous (malignant) if the cells attack the surrounding tissues or spread to far off zones in the body. Breast cancer happens mostly in women, yet men can get it, as well.
This is how breast cancer can spread:
- Bosom cancer can spread through the lymph framework
- The lymph framework includes lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and lymph liquid found all throughout the body
- Lymph nodes are little, bean-shaped accumulations of immune system cells that are connected by lymph (or lymphatic) vessels. Lymph vessels resemble little veins, with the exception of that they transport a liquid called lymph (rather than blood) far from the breast
- Lymph contains tissue liquid, waste items, and immune system cells. Breast cancer cells can enter lymph vessels and start to develop into lymph nodes
A large portion of the lymph vessels of the breast deplete into the:
- Lymph nodes under the arm (axillary hubs)
- Lymph nodes around the neck bone (supraclavicular and infraclavicular lymph hubs)
- Lymph nodes inside the neck close to the breast bone (inner mammary lymph hubs)
Following are some of the causes of breast cancer:
- Hormones play a part in creating breast cancer disease; however exactly how this happens is not completely known
- Ordinary breast cells get to be distinctly carcinogenic in view of changes (transformations) in DNA
- Yet, most DNA changes identified with breast cancer are gained in breast cells during a woman’s life as opposed to having been acquired
- Qualities that accelerate cell division are called oncogenes
- Tumor silencer qualities are typical qualities that back off cell division, repair DNA oversights, or advise cells when to bite the dust
- Certain acquired DNA transformations (changes) can drastically increase chances for building up specific growths and are in charge of a large number of tumors that keep running in few families
Some of the treatments of breast cancer include:
- Health alterations: Body weight, physical action, and eating routine are all connected to breast tumor, so these may be territories where you can make a move.
- Restorative alternatives for women at expanded hazard: For women who have certain hazard components for breast growth, for example, a family history; various restorative alternatives may counteract breast cancer.
- Medications to lessen hazard: For women at expanded danger of breast cancer, medications, for example, tamoxifen and raloxifene, can reduce the hazard. However, these medications can have their own dangers and symptoms.
- Preventive surgery: In case that you have a solid family history of breast cancer, you can talk with your specialist about hereditary testing. This test addresses changes in qualities that increase the danger of breast cancer; for example, the BRCA qualities. In case you have a hereditary change from a family with a transformation, however, have not been tried, you could consider surgery to bring down your danger of tumor.
My age is 28 and I am suffering from back pain due to L3, L4, L5 Disc bulging. Kindly suggest me a solution to over come from back pain without surgery.
These two words are enough to instil anxiety and assumptions in the minds of many. Replete with prejudices, myths and malpractices, this disease is more feared than managed or treated. For example, how often have women wondered if wearing a bra can cause breast cancer? How often have your spouse or a loved one talked themselves out of a diagnosis, because they were shy of the procedure, and also because they thought that there was no way they could have the disease? How often have they concluded that they need to get their breasts removed knowing a close blood relative had the disease or undergo an extremely painful chemotherapy regime if they were diagnosed with breast cancer?
Wondering and presuming these things isn’t their fault- it’s because of the general lack of awareness and hence, several myths the disease brings in its wake. In this section, we answer some of the most common myths surrounding breast cancer, in detail. It is of utmost importance to make women aware of these myths since this often leads to bad practices such as avoiding proper check-ups, which ultimately culminates into the delay in diagnosis treatment breast cancer, which can prove to be fatal.
Myth: Breast cancer risk is very low.
Fact: This misconception is one of the leading causes of a late diagnosis in India. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Indian women, and according to the National Cancer Registry Program of India, it accounts for 27% of all cancer in women, as of 2012. About 1.5 lakh new cases are diagnosed every year of which, 0.75 lakh cases succumb to the disease within the 1st five years. India has the dubious distinction of having the highest incidence-to-mortality conversion in the world attributed to lack of awareness about symptoms, late-stage detection and poor treatment outcomes. In our country, this disease occurs at a much younger, premenopausal age, that is, the average age of around 45 in India as compared to 65 in the West. Approximately 1 in 22 Indian women carries a lifetime risk of developing the disease. Also, approximately 1 in 3 breast cancers will be identified as a triple negative breast cancer which is a aggressive breast cancer and is most prevalent in Indian women, compared to the 10-15% risk in other ethnicities.
Owing to the assumption that the risk is low and that cancer occurs at a much later age group, middle-aged women at a higher risk of breast cancer shy away from diagnosis and do not get annual mammograms done. In fact, according to a study carried out in Oldham, England in 2010, only 35% of Asian women were likely to attend the routine check-up done by National Health Service of England, as opposed to 70% of non-Asian women. The reasons behind shying away from getting an annual check-up done after 40 years of age could be ignorance, financial reasons, discomfort with the check-up procedure or anxiety of the reports. Regardless, this inertia in undergoing routine medically advised check-up of the breasts can result in missing an early diagnosis which then decreases the chances of effective treatment of the disease. At our clinic, we have seen cases where breast cancer has been diagnosed at a very early stage because the women underwent annual mammograms, and thus could be easily managed and cured. It is our humble request to all the women to break their inhibitions and get an annual breast check-up done under the supervision of a breast cancer expert after the age of 40.
Myth: If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, her breasts will be removed (mastectomized).
Fact: If breast cancer occurs, then there is 80% chance that the breasts will not be removed. Most women will have a single cancerous lump in their breast and the breast can always be saved by a well-planned, cosmetic surgery. Breast reconstruction is done in the same procedure with the same anaesthesia, resulting in better-looking breasts and cosmetics as they can be lifted and shaped according to the patient’s desire. A questionnaire conducted by our centre reported no depression and out of 147 patients surveyed, most were very satisfied with the reconstruction outcomes (94%). Mastectomy, or breast removal surgery, is performed in few percentages of patients- may be 20%, where there are multiple tumours. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that a woman does not fear the outcome of a diagnosis and delay getting examined altogether. Such bad practice can result in an advanced-stage breast cancer, which could have been diagnosed at an early stage and treated, now being treated by mastectomy, owing to the consequent delay in treatment.
Myth: General health check-ups are excellent for every diagnosis, including breast cancer.
Fact: This is one of the biggest and most dangerous myths. General health check-ups cannot diagnose any cancer, let alone breast cancer. Therefore it is pivotal for a woman to get a mammogram and clinical breast examination done at a specialized breast health centre, under the care of specialists and professionals. National expert panels do not recommend general health check-ups. The Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination as well as the United States Preventative Service Task Force, recommended focused health checks, as opposed to general ones, in 1979 and 1989, respectively. One review published in the Cochrane Library by Krogsbøllet al. in 2012 reported that “general health checks did not reduce morbidity or mortality, neither overall nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes”, based on the trials that they conducted. According to an article published in 2015, in which a joint analysis was undertaken by medical liability insurers (Doctors Co. and CRICO, USA), amongst the 562 malpractice claims between 2009 to 2014, 39% related to the alleged negligent treatment of patients, including misinterpretation of diagnostic studies in general health check-up schemes.
In general, it is believed that about 48% of the delayed-diagnosis cases involved radiology, with primary care physicians or other clinicians have misread or misinterpreted the radiology report. General health check-ups is also a scheme by hospitals to pick up patients for treatment, with surgeons performing open breast biopsies (i.e, a surgical procedure where a cut is made through the skin to expose and remove tissues), which is an obsolete diagnostic modality for breast cancer. In fact, in America, according to sources, a doctor doing an open breast biopsy is liable to lose his registration. The biopsies should be done after careful radiological investigation and are only minimally invasive needle biopsies. Due to such myths and malpractices, women are afraid to present themselves for diagnosis, because they fear that every lump will be removed with a surgery. The fact is that out of 100 women presented with lumps, maybe 1 or 2 actually need a surgery.
Myth: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy should be avoided as they are extremely painful.
Fact: Both these types of therapies have been exaggerated to be ‘worse than death itself’. This is absolutely not true. Chemotherapy has improved leaps and bounds with drugs that are much easier to tolerate as they are targeted, which means that they predominantly affect the cancer cells and not the normal ones. Earlier, the known side effects of chemotherapy were nausea, vomiting, reduction of blood counts, and infections. Today with current improvements in the drugs with chemotherapy as well as antidotes against complications, chemotherapy has become extremely safe and the side effects have substantially reduced. In fact, some determined women take chemo and go to work. The only major, common side effect of chemotherapy as of today is the hair loss which is a temporary and reversible phenomenon A daycare facility is extremely proficient with the treatment, with most of the regimens needing just 5 hours or less. Many hospitals admit patients for chemotherapy, more for financial gains than an actual need for inpatient admission procedures. At our facility, chemotherapy is a procedure requiring maximum 5 hours, with loungers and personalized TVs, a counsellor and a nutritionist for free, private consultation in a spa-like ambience.
There are fewer side-effects of radiotherapy as well if done by adept radiotherapists and physicists with extremely sophisticated and state-of-the-art equipment. Both these procedures are extremely safe, with the woman not even needing hospitalization.
Myth: Wearing a bra, antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer.
Fact: It is due to the existence of these myths that the focus has been shifted from the actual risk factors to such obsolete ones. None of the aforementioned items has been shown to cause breast cancer. The real risk factors leading to breast cancer are of two types: the modifiable and the non-modifiable. The modifiable risk factors include alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, not breastfeeding and not having children or having them late. The non-modifiable ones include genetics, having a family history of breast cancer, older age, exposure to radiation, race and ethnicity, early menarche and late menopause. Most of the modifiable risk factors can be avoided if one took care of their health, diet and got sufficient exercise.
Myth: If a woman has a family history of breast cancer, she is likely to develop breast cancer as well.
Fact: While it is true that women who have a family history of breast cancer are at a higher risk of getting the disease, it is also true that most women who have breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Statistically, only 10% of the women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history.
So what should you do if you have a family history of this disease?
That depends on your relation to that particular family member.
If you have a first-degree relative with breast cancer, that is, if your mother, sister or daughter developed breast cancer under the age of 50, you should consider some form of regular diagnostic breast imaging as well as genetic testing.
When should you consider it?
Starting ten years before the age of your relative’s diagnosis.
Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer- however rare, but a clinically observed phenomenon also raises a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer.
If you have a second-degree relative with breast cancer, such as a grandmother or an aunt, your risk increases moderately, however, definitely not as much if you had a first-degree relative with breast cancer.
If you have multiple generations diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family, or if there are several individuals who are first-degree relatives to one another or several family members diagnosed at the age of 50, you should be careful, as you have an increased probability of having a defective breast cancer-causing gene, given your breast cancer-prone family history.
In such scenarios, you should consult with a breast cancer specialist and undergo appropriate genetic testing only after prior genetic counselling of the family.