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What we know about breast cancer continues to change as new research gives more insight into how it develops and how it can be treated. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions that can lead to unnecessary delays in getting the right preventive and curative treatment. What are these everyday breast cancer myths and misconceptions?
1. Myth: Deodorants or antiperspirants can cause breast cancer.
Fact: Although there are a lot of rumors about the link between breast cancer and deodorant use, there is no scientific basis for any of them. It has also been claimed that the aluminum in antiperspirants can lead to breast cancer, however, there is no evidence that justifies these claims. The truth is that since aluminum can interfere with x-ray readings during a mammogram, women are asked not to use deodorant or antiperspirant prior to the testing procedure.
2. Myth: Breast cancer does not affect men.
Fact: While it might sound surprising to some people, breast cancer can also occur in men. It is generally detected as a hard lump under the nipple and areola. Unfortunately, in some cases, men do not notice lumps and wait to see their doctor only once the lumps have become large. This delay in treatment results in a higher mortality rate in men. Male breast cancer forms 1% of total breast cancer cases.
3. Myth: Underwired bras can cause breast cancer.
Fact: This is probably one of the most unfounded myths about breast cancer. The kind of bra a woman wears has no connection to whether or not she will develop breast cancer.
4. Myth: A lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.
Fact: Not all lumps found in the breast are cancerous or malignant. In a lot of cases, the lump is benign, meaning it is non-cancerous. Often the lump is a cyst or a fibroadenoma i.e. a non-cancerous abnormal growth. In fact, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are not cancerous.
The doctor may still advise you to have surgery to remove the mass, but this does not mean it is cancerous. If you do discover a lump during a self-exam, it is essential that you consult with a specialist to ascertain whether it is malignant or benign and what treatment plan is required.
Remember that it is also common for women to develop lumps in the breasts at different times during the menstrual cycle, so don’t jump to conclusions before speaking to a specialist.
5. Myth: Breast cancer always manifests in the form of a lump.
Fact: Although a lump can be indicative of breast cancer, it’s also important to look out for other unusual symptoms that may signal breast cancer. Nipple retraction is a key symptom to watch out for. A mammogram is effective in detecting breast cancer that does not have overt symptoms.
One ailment that affects a large number of women all over the world is that of breast cysts. Breast cysts are essentially benign abscesses that grow on and around the mammary glands. These cysts primarily develop on account of hormonal changes and are often assumed to develop naturally along with the development of breasts. These cysts are generally filled with fluids which can be traced around the milk ducts.
Cysts are usually reported among women approaching menopause. While some cysts are of temporary kind, there may be others with a more prolonged run. Early diagnosis and prompt medication ensure that their growth gets arrested at the earliest. Although it is necessary to be vigilant about these eruptions, one need not fear any further exacerbation. Most cysts are harmless in nature and do not proceed to breast cancer. The symptoms as well as the causes of the latter are completely disparate.
However some classes of cysts are more threatening than the others. These mostly comprise suspended solid elements besides the regular fluid content. Some might even have thicker walls compared to the others. Accordingly, they are called complicated and complex cysts. In these cases, one must exercise caution and get them treated immediately. Some of the most popular remedies include drainage through needle aspiration.
On certain occasions, physicians also recommend biopsy , wherein a different mode of treatment ensues. Other ways of tackling breast cysts are ultrasound guidance using local anesthesia. In most cases however, depending upon the traits of the cysts, physicians leave them unaltered. One might choose to remove them for cosmetic as well as comfort purposes. Women come to such decision because breast cysts prove to be painful during menstrual cycles and some might even resent its appearance.
One unavoidable repercussion of needle aspiration is that the cysts tend to come back periodically. Dealing with it then becomes a fairly tedious task. This has known to cause anxiety and depression in a lot of women. Counselling and support group can prove beneficial here. But, the most crucial factor in learning to deal with breast cysts would be generating more awareness with regard to the causes and effects of breast cysts.
Lung cancer is the cancer killer of both men and women in the U.S. When you think of risk factors for lung cancer, what comes to mind? Most of us think about the risk associated with smoking cigarettes, but did you know that air pollution can also cause lung cancer? Overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution in the outdoor air we breathe—like that coming from vehicle exhaust, coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources—can cause lung cancer. Particle pollution increases the risk of dying early, heart disease and asthma attacks, and it can also interfere with the growth and function of the lungs.
What is Particle Pollution?
Particle pollution is a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air and can be made up of a number of components, such as acids, organic chemicals, metals, soil and dust particles. It can be emitted directly from wood stoves, forest fires, vehicles and other sources, and it can also form from other types of pollution that come from sources like power plants.
Why does particle pollution harm our bodies?
While breathing in larger sizes of particle pollution can be harmful to our health, smaller particles are more dangerous. Bigger particles can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, but our natural defenses help us to cough or sneeze them out of our bodies. Unfortunately, those defenses don't keep out smaller particles, which get trapped deep in the lungs and can even get into the bloodstream, causing damage to our health.
Who is most at risk?
As for who is at risk for health problems from breathing in particle pollution. Those who live where particle pollution levels are high is at risk. Some people face higher risk, including children, the elderly, people with lung and heart disease and diabetes, people with low incomes, and people who work or exercise outdoors.
How do we protect ourselves from particle pollution?
Check the air quality index forecast for the day and limit your activity if pollution levels are high. Avoid exercising along heavily traveled highways regardless of the overall forecast.
As individuals, we can play our part in reducing air pollution levels by trying to avoid creating more of it. Choosing ‘active travel’ options where possible, like walking and cycling, can help reduce pollution levels from transport and is also a great way to be more active, which is linked to a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.
Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. Mainly it occurs in females but less than 1% of all the breast cancer cases develop in males. The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. It can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs and to the brain.
Our spinal disk resembles a jelly donut, wherein the softer insides are protected by the hard exterior. Sometimes, as a result of some injury or an accident the jelly slips out, leading to an extremely painful condition which in medical parlance is known as herniated disc. The pain that you are subjected to, during herniated disc, occurs as the nerves nearby are damaged due to the concussion.
Apart from pain, herniated disc is preceded by other symptoms, some of them are:
1. Pain in the arm or the leg
Depending on which part of the body you have suffered the herniated disc, in the neck or in your lower back, this condition is succeeded by intense pain either near the buttocks or near the shoulders. It goes without saying that this pain increases sharply with movement.
That part of the body where the nerves are damaged due to herniated disc often becomes numb and has no sensation whatsoever.
Due to herniated disc, the muscles become weak that considerably impairs and curbs mobility.
Exercise in any form and even for a short while yields several benefits. Your body invariably gains momentum and agility. If you exercise daily, your spine becomes more stable and strong, thereby preventing a possible herniated disc.
2. Maintaining the right and good posture
A lot depends on the way you sit and walk, in fact more than you can imagine. If you sit badly, it exerts a pressure on the spine and the discs. Subsequently, a good posture does the very reverse and curbs chances of a herniated disc in the future.
3. Keep a tab on the weight
It is always healthy to maintain the right weight, the one that keeps you away from the onset of various diseases. If you are overweight, it puts more pressure on the spine disk, thereby increasing the risk of developing a herniated disc.
- Lack of physical activity
- Alcohol consumption
- Advancing age
- No childbirth or no breastfeeding
- Family history of breast cancer
- Early menarche (< 12 years of age) or late menopause ( > 55 years of age)
- History of ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer
- History of benign breast conditions (e.g. atypical hyperplasia) or lobular carcinoma in situ
- Receiving hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)
- History of receiving radiation therapy to the chest before age of 30
- Have regular physical activities, do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activities per week (e.g. climbing stairs or brisk walking)
- Avoid alcohol drinking;
- Maintain a healthy body weight and waist circumference - aim for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 22.9, and a waist circumference of not more than 80cm for women; and
- Have childbirth at an earlier age and breastfeed each child for longer duration factors include:
What are the common symptoms of breast cancer?
The symptoms of breast cancer may not be easily noticed at an early stage. Any of the following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer:
• Breast lump;
• A change in the size or shape of the breast;
• A change in skin texture of the breast or nipple (e.g. red, scaly, thickened or “orange-skin” appearance);
• Rash around the nipple;
• In-drawing of the nipple;
• Discharge from one or both nipples;
• New and persistent discomfort or pain in the breast or armpit; and
• A new lump or thickening in the armpit
What is breast cancer screening? Should I screen for breast cancer if I do not have any symptom?
Screening means examining people without symptoms in order to detect disease or fi nd people at increased risk of disease. It is often the fi rst step in making a defi nitive diagnosis. For breast cancer screening, its purpose is to fi nd women who have breast cancer, before they have any symptom, in order to offer them earlier treatment.
Mammography is widely used as a screening tool. It is an X-ray examination of the breasts. During mammography, the breast is pressed between 2 plates to flatten and spread the breast tissue, in order to obtain a clear image. Some women may find it uncomfortable or painful but the discomfort is usually short lasting. Mammography screening is safe in general and only a very small dose of radiation is used in the procedure. One in 5 female breast cancer patients may be missed by mammography.
Breast cancer is on the rise in india. Surveys show that every 4 out of 5 indian women suffer from an advanced stage of breast cancer by the time they get themselves examined at the hospital. Urban women are at two times more risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than rural women. Being overweight, eating unhealthy food, and consuming excessive alcohol or tobacco are some of causes that can make you susceptible to this disease.
How you can avoid breast cancer by being aware.
- Dimpling of the skin around the breast or a lump in the breast is the first sign that you should keep an eye out for.
- Apart from self-examining your breasts every month for a lump, going for a mammography (an x-ray of the breast) is vital for early detection of the problem.
- Consult a gynaecologist before going for the test as its frequency depends on your age and risk factor. About 80-90% of tumours can be traced through this screening.
Breast cancer may run in family. If there is no family history of breast cancer, you start doing mammogram at 40 yrs of age but if there is a family history you start even earlier as advised by your gynaecologist.
Having neck pain vertigo and unsteadiness while walking and standing for 4 months. Had mri of brain and cleverical mri. Brain is clear but cleverical mri showing diffuse disc bulges at c4-5, c5-6 and c6-7 having dizziness. Eye inflammation and hip pain with burning are these symptoms of disc bulges only. Please advise if it is serious. Please suggestions how cure this.
Breast cancer is the most common forms of cancer in females, affecting one in every eight women in the US. There are huge awareness campaigns, which revolve around ways to recognize if you are prone for it and how to identify the disease in its early stages. Knowing the symptoms can help in early diagnosis and thereby early intervention and better prognosis.
How and why of breast cancer?
The breasts produce milk through the glands, which also contain connective tissue including fat, fibrous tissue, nerves, blood vessels, etc. The milk reaches the exterior through a fine network of ducts. Most cancers develop as small calcifications in these ducts, which continues to grow and spread to distant organs.
Warning signs and symptoms:
Given the high incidence of breast cancer, knowing the symptoms helps in early identification. Read on to know more, especially if there is a family history.
- Any change in the size, shape, or contour of the breasts
- Appearance of a lump in the breasts or the armpits
- Presence of a clear or bloody discharge from the breast
- The breast or the nipple turning red
- Sudden thickening of breast tissue or skin that continues for a while
- Change in the feel or look of the skin (dimpling, puckering, scaliness, reddishness, warmth, etc.)
- Hardening of the tissue under the breast skin
- Difference in appearance or feel of one area in comparison with other areas
The presence of any of these or a combination of these symptoms should be an indication for a detailed checkup. As mentioned, early diagnosis helps in reducing complications and improving prognosis. It is also good to know risk factors, which also indicate if you need to watch for symptoms.
- Family history: Breast cancer runs in families, and if you have a first-degree relative with breast cancer, watch out for symptoms.
- Tested positive for BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of other cancers
- Age: Women over the age of 50 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian women carry greater risk than African-American women.
- Hormones: Increased use of estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Therefore, women who have used birth control for long time or are on hormone replacement are at greater risk.
- Abnormal gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones are more predisposed to developing breast cancer. For instance, girls who attain menarche before age of 12, get pregnant after 30, and reach menopause after 55. Women with menstrual irregularities including cycles earlier than 26 days and later than 29 days are also likely to have hormonal issues and are, therefore, at higher risk of breast cancer.
- Other factors: Smoking, alcohol abuse, and obesity also increase the chances of a woman developing breast cancer.