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Breast Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women. In US, it is the second most common cancer to affect women, the first one being skin cancer. The disease has been such a dreadful one that the first thing which crops up on the minds of those diagnosed with the same, is whether they would survive. Nowadays, medical science has made such rapid progress in diagnosing the disease and then coming up with various treatment options, that ones who are diagnosed with cancer have high chances of survival as compared to those, who had to bear the brunt of the dreaded disease and lose their battles due to lack of advanced medical treatment.
Now, we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on breast cancer:
1. Which age group of women is most likely to get breast cancer?
Breast Cancer most often occurs in women who are above 40 years and risk tends to increase with age. There are certain risk factors, some of which can be controlled, which are related to lifestyle, environment, diet, while some factors cannot be controlled, top of which is age.
2. What are the signs and symptoms?
Outward signs of breast cancer are very rare. In case any outward sign does occur, the most probable ones include a lump, area around the nipple having a thickened feeling or skin around the nipple having rashes. Still, even if you come across these signs, they don’t always necessarily mean you have breast cancer, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor as and when you come across these signs.
3. Can breast cancer be prevented?
Unfortunately there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer but precautions on the part of women can definitely reduce the risk of getting engulfed by the disease. Lifestyle and environmental factors play huge role in influencing cancerous cells within a person’s body. So, maintaining healthy lifestyle and staying away from alcohol and fatty, spicy foods would go a long way in ensuring that you do not invite the risk of cancer.
4. How often should I do a breast self exam?
Breast Self Exam should be done at least once a month. You can look for any changes in the tissue, changes related to size, shape or a feeling of lump, inversion of nipple, reddish tinge on the breast skin.
5. Is breast cancer inherited?
All kinds of cancers involved changes in a person’s genes. If a woman’s mother, sister or daughter had suffered from cancer, then there is always a chance that the woman would also suffer from the same.
6. Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?
Use of birth control pills for more than five years lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, though due to the low amount of hormones in pills nowadays, the risk is comparatively small.
7. What is preventive mastectomy?
Preventive Mastectomy refers to the removal of one or both breasts so that risk of getting breast cancer is reduced. Women who are at a high risk of breast cancer go for this option.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Hi doctor, What are the chances of me getting breast cancer if my mom has got it during her menopause? I am getting married soon and this has raised a concern in my fiance's mind.
Dear sir, I am 33 year old. I have back ache since 2010 mri also have been done it shown herniated slip disk and doctor has advised me surgery. But I am not willing to get surgery please advise me what should I do.
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.
I had a slip disc surgery 2 year ago, so now can I go to for gym and what type of exercise should I do for good physique?
Hi Sir, My age 30 yrs, and single .Normally my waist of front part is hard and high to stomach part. When I eat and drink then waist part high and hard so I face problem after eat food. I exercise in morning but no. Soft my hard part. Now I have slip disc problems, and headaches, legs pain.
A is a screening test done to to test for occurrence of uterine cancer. Carried out in a quick and simple way to extract a sample, the sample is collected from the cervix area of a woman during a pelvic exam. The examination of the sample takes place under a microscope thereafter to find abnormalities that can point towards cancer and pre cancer changes.
There are many reasons why women should get a pap smear screening done:
1. Women who are HIV positive should get this test done regularly so as to detect any anomalies in the cervix. This condition usually comes with higher risk of infections and cancer, which is why regular screening is required.
2. Age is also another factor and women over the age of 30 should go through an annual screening on a compulsory basis. This is also true for women who have been through pregnancy and child birth.
Preparing for a Pap Smear: To prepare for a pap smear test, you need to ensure that you are not menstruating at the time. Also, you may want to avoid sexual activity just before the test so as to get the most accurate readings. During the process, remember to stay calm and relax your body physically.
Procedure: The pap smear procedure is a quick one that might be only slightly uncomfortable. This test is usually carried out on the examination table at the gynecologist's clinic. The legs will need to be spread and placed in stirrups. The doctor will insert a speculum to hold open the vaginal opening so that the spatula can be inserted easily to take a sample from the area. This sample of the cells will be tested in a lab after due preservation.
Test Results: The test results can either be normal or abnormal. An abnormal result does not point at the presence of cancer. Rather it can simply mean that abnormal cells exist in the cervix. The doctor may ask you to go through these tests and screening more frequently so as to study the anomalies in a more detailed manner.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Cerebral ischaemia or brain ischemia is a medical condition that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, resulting in an unmet metabolic demand. This leads to limited oxygen supply in the brain, which could result in death of brain tissues, cerebral infarction or an ischemic stroke. Thus, a cardiorespiratory arrest, a stroke, and irreversible brain damage are few possible consequences of cerebral ischaemia.
People with compressed blood vessels, low blood pressure, congenital heart defects or sickle cell anaemia have a high risk of developing cerebral ischaemia, since compressed blood vessels or very low pressure can lead to restricted blood flow. Also, sickle-shaped cells have a greater tendency to clot, causing obstructed blood flow.
Patients with cerebral ischaemia experience a host of symptoms, such as weakness in the body, problems in coordination and movement, vision and speech impairment and unconsciousness.
Cerebral congestion, on the other hand, refers to excessive quantity of blood in the brain vessels, causing pressure on the cerebral substance. Cerebral congestion is of two types. It is termed as active when there is too much arterial blood flow and passive when there is undue quantity of venous blood in the veins of the brain. Both conditions cause symptoms, such as severe headache, insomnia, irritability and unconsciousness. The patient gets little sleep and is disturbed, often followed by dreams. When awake, the patient’s mental activity in the brain is very high.
Homeopathy is now a well-established school of medicine backed with years of research and practice. Gone are the days when homeopathy was considered no more than an extension of herbal home remedies. Homeopathic laboratories around the world produce large number of medicines covering almost all ailments. The benefits of homeopathic treatment are now well established due to its holistic approach and minimal side effects. Homeopathy is undoubtedly a ray of hope for patients with cerebral ischaemia and cerebral congestion, as it delivers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to target the signs and symptoms of the disease and address its non-occurrence.
The medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headache, vomiting, insomnia, stroke/convulsions and seizures. The stramonium drug, for example, deals with seizures. Belladonna is an effective remedy for sharp shooting headaches, a common symptom of cerebral congestion. Ferrum is believed to be a valuable remedy for brain ischaemia. Few drugs deal with the symptoms of both ischaemia and congestion—nux is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischaemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion. Similarly, phosphorus can be used to treat brain ischaemia and congestion. Zincum metallicum is a highly recommended drug for chronic cases of ischaemia.
The treatment is comprehensive and long term and shows substantive results. Regular follow-ups and consultation with a homeopath specialist is the key to an effective treatment.
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast(s) start to grow out of control. It is understood as being the most common cancer, seen predominantly in females, globally. It is reasonably treatable and often curable.
1. Type: Adenocarcinomas constitute more than 95% of breast cancers with infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) being the most common form of invasive breast cancer.
Frequently occurring breast cancers present as one of the following types mainly
1. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer and is confined to the milk ducts of the breast. There is no invasion in the basement membrane. Pure DCIS metastasizes rarely. Non comedo cribrioform carcinoma is the most common DCIS found which, when compared to the comedo type, is mostly non-aggressive.
2. Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): Represents majority (about 3/4th) of the breast cancers, and is known to metastasize commonly to bones, lungs and liver.
3. Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS): Develops in multiple lobules of the breast (bilaterally). LCIS is less commonly seen, compared to DCIS.
4. Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): Represent about a tenth of all breast cancers and tends to metastasize to other regions of the body.
Less commonly occurring breast cancers such as
5. Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Is relatively uncommon and are caused probably owing to viral infections. The breast is warm, red and swollen.
6. Paget’s disease of the nipple: Is a rare form of breast cancer. It begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola.
7. Medullary Carcinoma
8. Mutinous Carcinoma
9. Tubular Carcinoma
10. Phylloides tumor etc all.
2. Gender: Affects the female populace predominantly. However, a small percentage of breast cancer is attributable to the male populace as well.
3. Etiology: No definite cause is known. However, diet, lifestyle, environment, hormonal/ reproductive factors, personal or family history of breast cancer especially in first degree relatives and also any benign breast disease history etc all are known to increase the risk of breast cancers. Specifically, excessive fatty diet, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, benign breast disease, heredity/ inheritance of mutated breast cancer genes 1 (BRCA1) and 2 (BRCA2), smoking, alcohol intake, infertility, estrogen therapy/ hormone replacement therapy (long term) in post menopausal women, delayed age at first pregnancy, nulliparity (not having child), early menstruation, delayed onset of menopause, lactating mothers not breast feeding, exposure to ionizing radiation, sedentary lifestyle, depression, exposure to MMTV virus etc all can potentially increase the risk for breast cancer.
4. Features: Signs & symptoms, of breast cancer, manifest majorly in the following ways
Lump/ nodule in the breast that gets attached to the skin of the breast over time. The lump / nodule could be hard and painless with irregular edges or it could also be soft, rounded, tender and painful.
Enlarged lymph nodes in the axilla which are palpable.
Swelling of whole or a part of a breast. This is even if there is no distinct lump felt.
Retraction or thickening of the nipple(s).
Pain in the breast or nipple.
Discharge from nipple other than breast milk.
Irritation/ scaliness of skin over the breast.
Redness of nipples
Rarely, red, swollen and tender breast.
5. Screening: Is generally recommended for asymptomatic populations goal of which, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose breast cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. It is mostly radiologic with mammography/ USG being instrumental in raising suspicions for further diagnostics (i.e. biopsy) that help detect breast cancer, if any, early.
6. Diagnosis: A self-examination/ clinical exam of the breast(s)/ axilla that reveals a palpable mass prompts the following diagnostics. Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow up imaging/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis.
- Blood: ER/ PR/ HER2/neu, uPA, PAI-1, CA15-3, CA27.29 etc all tumor markers are helpful.
- Imaging: Mammography/ USG Scan usually, as relevant. Again, CT Scan of abdomen & pelvis and chest, PET CT scan, bone scan etc all help detect metastasis, if any, for cancers in stage III & above.
- Biopsy: either excisional, incisional, fine needle aspiration (FNA) or core biopsy technique, as contextually appropriate, is frequently employed and a histopathological examination (HPE) thereof clinches the diagnosis and the nature of the disease.
7. Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy/ chemotherapy as deems appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as would be feasible contextually.
8. Prognosis: Preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for an effective therapeutic management & better prognosis. Like most other cancers, the chances of cure for an early stage breast cancer are more. The cure/ recovery chances are influenced by the type, grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all. Above-mentioned apart, age, menopause status, lymph node status, ER/ PR/ HER-2/ neu status, size & extent of breast cancer etc all also influence the treatment outlook in breast cancer. The five year survival rate is strongly correlated with the stage of breast cancer.
9. Prevention: Rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an increased focus on protective factors and avoidance of the risk factors can be of help. An adherence to a Mediterranean diet, maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle with due emphasis on regular exercising (for at least 30 minutes daily), de-stressing and relaxation is highly recommended for reducing the risks of breast cancer. A healthy eating plate comprises essentially a low fat diet, fibre rich foods including whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables cooked using healthy vegetable oils, fresh fruits of all colours as seasonally available and healthy proteins/ fats including fresh fish, poultry, beans, nuts etc all. It is advisable to limit milk/ dairy, preferably of low fat content, to 1 to 2 servings max daily. Although alcohol is optional and is not for everyone, the consumption of the same, if any, has to be strictly in moderation, and is best avoided. Smoking is to be avoided as well. Again, red meat, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks including carbonated beverages and other high calorie foods etc all, if any, are to be taken sparingly or are best avoided too. Limiting dosage/ duration of hormone therapy, if any, especially to counteract post menopausal symptoms and also avoiding exposure to radiation and environmental pollution can help reduce the risks of breast cancer. Apart from the above-mentioned, for high risk cases, a prophylactic oophorectomy, prophylactic radical mastectomy, long term hormone therapy etc all can help reduce the chances/ risks of developing breast cancer significantly. Breastfeeding is known to confer protection against breast cancer risk too.