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Breast Cancer is cancer that develops in the cells of the breasts. In the United States, breast cancer happens to be the second most common cancer diagnosed in women. General signs and symptoms of breast cancer include, a lump in the breast, noticeable change in breast shape, liquid oozing out from the nipple, there might be a newly inverted nipple or a red patch of skin. Before going into the treatment and most importantly see how can this be prevented from affecting women, we will look closely into the causes, which lead to breast cancer.
Prevention of breast cancer
Doctors do not guarantee that breast cancer can be prevented. Still, women can be cautious and through reviewing the risk factors, that lead to development of cancerous cells or increase the chances of them getting affected, can go a long way in minimizing the risk.
Some of the preventive measures are:
- Keeping a good body weight is a must. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Risk of breast cancer can be reduced through medicines like tamoxifen and raloxifene. Both these medicines block the effects of estrogen on breast tissue.
- Aromase inhibitors, as medications, can be used to prevent the production of small amounts of estrogen, which are usually produced in women during post menopause period.
- Group of patients, who have a very high risk of breast cancer, removal of breasts through surgery is an options which doctors consider to prevent this from happening.
- Having healthy diet is a must. Taking more of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts is desirable if you want to keep yourself away from this dreaded disease.
I am 42 year old female .After slip disc L1toL4 problem, pain in left heel and becomes severe at times. Is it spur in the foot ,slip disc or something else.
My rt. Breast surgery for breast cancer had done and presently from last 3-4 months rt. Hand and full arm are swelling.
I have hypertension n slip disc issue in L4 n L5. need to reduce weight badly. Restriction of exercise. Non veg food habits. Suggest diet.
My wife aged 28, diagnosed with breast cancer with stage 3B. Initially, they have given 5 neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed with modified radical mastectomy with LD flap reconstruction on 9th of this month. Surgeon, told that everything is fine and there was no treatment for 1 month but our doctor told there is large gap after surgery and started 6 chemo cycle yesterday and told as the wound is wet the disease will come back. He also told that as the gap is large he cannot give radiation therapy. Again today he told he can start radiation after 2 weeks. I am unable to understand her situation.
Breast cancer is most common amongst womenfolk but can occur in men as well. It follows the same path as any other cancer, the cells start growing at an alarming rate and can even spread to other parts of the body. These cells form a cluster or a lump that is tumour inside the breast and it’s usually a noticeable lump. Breast cancers can originate at any part of the breast but it’s usually the nipple ducts that channel the milk or the glands that make the milk are affected.
Apart from these, there are a few uncommon types as well. Breast cancer does not always mean there will be a lump though, sometimes it can be detected through a screening mammogram, especially, programmed to detect cancers at an early stage even before the symptoms start to show or can be felt. Yet there are a lot of telling signs of breast cancer that might go unnoticed by the untrained eye, so for your benefit, here are some questions that you should ask yourself:
- Does your nipple/breast feel unusual? Signs of this include;
- Does your nipple/breast look unusual? Signs of this include;
- uneven breasts, where one side is more swollen or has shrivelled
- your nipple might be turning inwards or looks inverted
- small indentations or dimpling of the breast
- colour of the nipple might change due to inflammation and redness
- Is there any discharge from your nipple? If you see your nipple discharging fluids and you are not lactating then check the colour of the discharge. It could be bloody, or a clear liquid or a yellow discharge.
- Are the veins in your breasts prominent? If the veins in your breasts have become visible and easily noticeable then it is a sign that you should get checked for breast cancer.
- Do any of these later symptoms apply to you? In the later stages the symptoms are not limited to just the breast or nipple and progresses bony pain swelling of the arm increased size of lymph nodes in the armpit.
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.
Collectively grouped under the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors, Ewing's sarcoma is the second most common form of bone cancer, which is commonly seen in children and adolescents. Very rarely is it experienced in adults above the age of 30.
Typically forming in the bones of the chest, pelvis, head, back or trunk and in the long bones of the arms and legs, Ewing's sarcoma is believed to originate in certain kinds of primitive cells. When it begins to affect similar kind of cells found outside the bone, it is usually called an extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma.
1. Similar to all types of Ewing tumors, Ewing's sarcoma is generally caused by an alteration in a certain cell compelling a gene named EWS found on chromosome no. 22 to move over to a DNA section on any one of the surrounding chromosomes resulting in the activation of the EWS gene.
2. While it is not a hereditary condition, it usually occurs after childbirth, but no substantial evidence has been found as to why it happens so.
3. A bone breaks having no apparent cause
4. Swelling which may or may not be accompanied by a warm, tingling sensation
5. Fever resulting from unknown causes
6. Lumps or bumps which do not subside over time
7. Abnormal weight loss
8. High levels of fatigue
9. Tumors which have spread over to the lungs may cause shortness of breath
10.Tumors spread over to the spine may cause weakness or even paralysis.
Because the symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma can hardly be distinguished from symptoms caused by other infections or injuries, an early diagnosis is absolutely necessary for a successive treatment. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist and ask a free question.