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She has a desk job and feeling pain in right leg the mri shows reduced space in intervertebral disc.
I am bodybuilder I had a disc replacement due to bulge in my disc. Is it possible to continue bodybuilding. Lifting weights etc. Plzz help me.
Most commonly known as a military neck a straight or forward curve of the neck is abnormal and may cause an unkind progression of symptoms leading ultimately to cervical disk degeneration.
Reversal of cervical lordosis explained
The anatomy of the neck features a lordotic curvature in its typical and healthy state. This means that the cervical region has a gentle curvature with the open end of that curve facing the rear of the body. The base and top of the curve will be further posterior than the mid point, which will be further anterior.
When the lordosis is straightened, the neck becomes more upright and linear. This is more common than the next progression of atypical curvature, which is the subject of this article.
Actual reversal of curvature means that part or all of the cervical spine develops a kyphotic profile, with the open end of the curve facing anteriorly. Usually, this reversal is extremely mild, but is still very abnormal. What we now see is the middle of the curve being positioned posterior to the top and bottom.
In essence, picture the letter c and now turn it backwards: This is the shape of a reversed cervical lordosis.
Reversal of cervical lordosis causes
The spinal curvature in the neck is constantly in flux to some degree.
Congenital conditions and developmental conditions can have lasting effects on the natural degree of curvature typically demonstrated from patient to patient. These circumstances may be explainable due to injury or degeneration, or may be idiopathic:
Scoliosis can affect the normal lordotic curvature in the neck.
Cervical spondylolisthesis is a major source of reversed lordotic curvature.
Severe disc pathologies can facilitate a gradual loss or reversal of cervical lordosis.
Vertebral irregularities, such as wedging, can definitely contribute to lordotic alteration.
Traumatic injury, including vertebral fracture, can create the ideal circumstances for a reversal of lordosis to take place.
Severe neck muscle spasms can actually reshape the spinal curves, although these are usually temporary expressions and not actual structural conditions.
Effects of reversal of cervical lordosis
The neck is designed to curve in order to balance the spine, absorb stress, distribute force and provide proper movement of the head. When this curvature is diminished or reversed, symptoms may result, although this is not an inherent part of any altered lordotic condition.
Patients may experience stiffness and tension in the neck. Pain may be present and may even be severe in rare cases. Neurological dysfunction is possible in extreme cases, since the neuroforamen might not align properly, thereby causing a cervical pinched nerve.
In the worst circumstances, central spinal stenosis in the neck might affect the viability of the spinal cord, possible enacting the most dire of symptoms throughout the body.
Patients will also be more prone to injury, since the normal shock absorption qualities of the typical curvature have been lost.
While all these effects are certainly possible, they are not usual. In fact, a great majority of patients have minor symptoms or even no symptoms at all from mild reversed lordotic curvatures.
The pathology leading to a neck curve reversal (cervical kyphosis shown below right) may be inspired by a multitude of conditions as follows:
Post head injury
Poor sitting/working postures
Congenital spinal curvatures
Degenerative cervical discs (a form of osteoarthritis that can either be the cause of or the result of a cervical kyphosis)
Compression fracture of vertebral body
Infection of the cervical spine
Anatomy: straight vs. Curved
I've always heard that it was good to stand up straight.
stand upright, stick your chest out and hold your shoulders back! otherwise you're going get widows hump.
Are these expressions as familiar to you as they are to me? one might think that having a curved neck goes against what we heard from parents and teachers as we were growing up, but the reality is that there is a little bit a truth in both. Maintaining good posture throughout our lives is crucial to both the health of our spine and vital organs. On the contrary, a special type of curve called a lordosis is a good thing, both in the neck and lower back.
When we look at a person from the back their spine should be truly straight, so that the left and right sides of one's body is symmetrical. However, when we view a person from the side, the front and back of their body is different and this is reflected in a coinciding curvature of the spine. Both the lower back and neck are hollowed out (concave) and the mid or thoracic spine is protrudes (convex). Thus there is an alternation of curves functioning to provide stability, shock absorption and aid in propulsion. A straight spine would be very stiff and not flexible. Imagine the plight of a pole vaulter with an inflexible pole.
Nature's design of our spine and rib cage facilitates breathing and offers protective and supportive framework for vital organs. Spinal disks are shock absorbers and because they are in the front of the spine, lordotic curvatures keep them from having to bear weight. Kyphosis or loss of such curvatures bears weight upon the disks, leading to their ultimate degeneration. This process of deterioration is a form of osteoarthritis and in the spine is known as degenerative spondylosis.
Although most physiotherapists or conservative orthopedists can recognize a cervical curve reversal upon viewing the patient's posture, a definitive diagnosis may be obtained via a standing lateral (side view) x-ray of the neck. Cause can often be determined by corroborating a comprehensive history, a thorough examination, x-rays and questions about sleep, work and lifestyle.
In my professional career I found that the majority of young adults presenting with cervical kyphosis either had a whiplash or were stomach sleepers from an early age. For desk jockeys 40-60 years of age, many hours of sitting with their head flexed forward almost dictates the fate of developing kyphosis. In prior years I considered cervical kyphosis a job hazard for the careers of accountants, attorneys and often teachers because of years spent with their head in a book or paperwork. However, the digital age offers some relief in that respect. A well-planned, ergonomically-friendly office can do wonders for protecting the spine in the sedentary worker.
Treatment for cervical curve reversal (kyphosis)
During my chiropractic practice I had the opportunity to note a good percentage of correction toward a more normal lordosis (noted on x-ray) for 70% of patients under my care. This was almost always consistent with those patients that followed all recommendations and were model participants in their own care. Here is the recommended treat plan:
Spinal manipulation of stiff and fixated spinal segments by a qualified physio
Flexibility exercises for flexion and extension of cervical spine
Resistance exercises for flexors and extensors of the neck
Learn the Alexander technique for maintaining good posture (hint: the basic philosophy is to sit and stand like you were hanging by a string from the vertex of your skull. Liken it to a puppet on a string).
Elimination of stomach sleeping
Avoid standing on your head, although some yoga postures may be beneficial
Use of orthopedic neck pillow while sleeping.
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer of females in urban cities. It is a curable disease if detected early. The usual age of presentation is usually after 40 to 50 years of age, though it is becoming common in earlier age as well. This could be due to many factors like late marriages, older age of pregnancy, diet and lifestyle, etc. The usual presentation is a swelling or lump in the breast, not associated with pain. That is the reason why females are advised regular self-breast examination, clinical breast examination and annual mammograms for screening purpose in order to detect early breast cancers. Many times, the breast lump is associated with blood stained discharge from the nipple. There can be skin changes on the breast like thickening, crusting or sometimes itching. If the skin lymphatics get blocked, there may be pitting and or dimpling of the skin too. There may be lumps felt in the armpit felt too. Many times the lump is not noticeable or felt and felt by chance during a bath. These are some of the commonest presentations. The lady should immediately consult a doctor and get evaluated in such scenario. Many women are at increased risk of developing breast cancer like those who have a positive family history especially first degree relatives like mother& sister. Breast cancer is usually a disease of women but 1% of cases are also seen in men.
If a lady feels any such lump she should immediately bring it to the attention of a doctor or oncologist who can do the necessary evaluation and investigations. Breast cancer is curable if detected early, hence the importance!
The primary modality of treatment is surgery followed by chemotherapy and or radiotherapy and or hormonal treatment depending on the report of the specimen after the surgery. Many times if the lump cannot be operated upfront, initially chemotherapy and or targeted therapy can be given to shrink the tumor for better resectability.
People should be aware that having cancer is not the end of life. It can be treated like many other diseases and the most important thing is awareness and early detection for a durable cure.
Noncancerous growths of the muscle tissue surrounding the uterus are known as uterine fibroids. This is a common disease which about 70 to 80% of women contract by the time they are 50 years of age. The uterine fibroids can sometimes be very big and cause heavy periods as well as severe abdominal pain while at other times, uterine fibroids give no signs or symptoms whatsoever and go away on their own. This is why it is crucial to know what type of uterine fibroids you have and how to diagnose them. Here are the types of uterine fibroids and how to diagnose them;
There are three main types of uterine fibroids. They are;
1. Intramural fibroids
The most common type of uterine fibroids are intramural fibroids. They typically appear in the endometrium and may grow larger which results in your womb getting stretched.
2. Subserosal fibroids
Subserosal fibroids are called so because they form on the serosa. The serosa is the outside of your uterus. Sometimes, Subserosal fibroids may grow so large that your uterus appears bigger on one side.
3. Pedunculated fibroids
Pedunculated fibroids tumors are basically Subserosal fibroids with a stem. A base which supports the tumor is called the stem.
There are a number of tests done to diagnose uterine fibroids. They are;
1. Pelvic exam
A pelvic exam is a thorough inspection of a woman pelvic area. The organs which are in the pelvic area include the cervix, ovaries, uterus and vagina. Normally, this and the next test in this article are enough to diagnose uterine fibroids.
2. Medical history
The history of your periods as well as the other symptoms you have will often be enough to diagnose the uterine fibroids. If your medical history is not enough, then you might need to undergo a pelvic exam.
3. Pelvic ultrasound
An ultrasound is when high-intensity sound waves are used to produce images of the pelvic area. This is only done when a pelvic exam and your medical history are not enough to diagnose uterine fibroids. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
I am having neck pain radiating to my right thumb which started around oct'2014. I am working in it sector and prolonged hours I have to sit infront of computers. I took some treatment in ayurveda for almost one month. Then later shifted to idd therapy which showed hood results and I was able to get back into my job after 1-2 months treatment. There's a disc prolapse in c5 c6 region and that's the reason. So, now the pain again started to come back although not severe and I am afraid I have to quit my job and go for surgery. Can any body help me send a suggest a solution without surgery.?
The uterus or womb, is a muscular structure and is held in place by ligaments and pelvic muscles. If these muscles or tendons become weak, they cause prolapse and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place.
Uterine prolapse happens when the uterus falls or slips from its ordinary position and into the vagina or birth waterway. It could be complete prolapse or even incomplete at times. A fragmented prolapse happens when the uterus is just hanging into the vagina. A complete prolapse depicts a circumstance in which the uterus falls so far down that some tissue rests outside of the vagina. Likewise, as a lady ages and with a loss of the hormone estrogen, her uterus can drop into the vaginal canal. This condition is known as a prolapsed uterus.
Risks: The risks of this condition are many and have been enumerated as follows:
- Complicated delivery during pregnancy
- Weak pelvic muscle
- Loss of tissue after menopause and loss of common estrogen
- Expanded weight in the stomach area, for example, endless cough, constipation, pelvic tumors or accumulation of liquid in the guts
- Being overweight
- Obesity causing extra strain on the muscles
- Real surgery in the pelvic zone
Symptoms: Some of the most common symptoms of prolapse involve:
- Feeling of sitting on a ball
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Increase in discharge
- Problems while performing sexual intercourse
- Seeing the uterus coming out of the vagina
- A pulling or full feeling in the pelvis
- Bladder infections
Nonsurgical medications include:
- Losing weight and getting in shape to take stress off of pelvic structures
- Maintaining a distance from truly difficult work
- Doing Kegel workouts, which are pelvic floor practices that strengthen the vaginal muscles. This can be done at any time, even while sitting down at a desk.
- Taking estrogen treatment especially during menopause
- Wearing a pessary, which is a gadget embedded into the vagina that fits under the cervix and pushes up to settle the uterus and cervix
- Indulging in normal physical activity
Some specialists use the following methods to diagnose the problem:
- The specialist will examine you in standing position keeping in mind you are resting and request that you to cough or strain to build the weight in your abdomen.
- Particular conditions, for example, ureteral block because of complete prolapse, may require an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or renal sonography. Color is infused into your vein, and an X-ray is used to view the flow of color through your urinary bladder.
- An ultrasound might be utilised to rule out any other existing pelvic issues. In this test, a wand is used on your stomach area or embedded into your vagina to create images of the internal organ with sound waves.
The sciatic pain caused due to a lumbar herniated disc can radiate down your legs and may make you immobile. It is quite common for a herniated disc to press against a nearby nerve and inflame, leading to pain radiating along the length of the affected sciatic nerve. For getting relief from lumbar herniated disc pain, you need to become active. Daily hamstring stretches are considered to be an effective way to tackle such pain if you do them regularly.
Here are three important hamstring stretches which will help you in strengthening your hamstring muscles:
- Seated chair stretches: This stretch is perfect for people whose mobility is limited or for those who have unusually tight hamstrings. It is carried out in a sitting position. While performing this stretch, you have to sit on a chair with another chair placed across. By resting one foot on the ground and the other on the second chair, you need to straighten your back and lean forward over the leg which is extended. Once you feel a stretch in the upper and rear thigh, you should be in that position for at least 30 seconds. You should switch legs and repeat the stretching exercise thrice for each leg.
- Towel hamstring stretch: If you like stretching while lying down, this stretch is an ideal option for you. For performing a towel hamstring stretch, you have to lie down on the floor and keep one leg flat. Tighten your abdominal muscles while you lift the other leg and keep it straight. You should wrap a belt around the elevated leg’s instep and use it for pulling back the leg towards you. Hold the position for around 30 seconds when you feel a stretch.
- Wall hamstring stretch: This stretch is for people who find the towel hamstring stretch hard to execute. For such people, extra stability can be attained by taking help of a solid surface such as a door jamb or a wall. You can rest the raised leg against the wall for support. You need to lie on the floor near a wall corner and leave one leg straight while placing the other against the wall. Your hips should be on the floor.
While you do stretches of any kind, you should only stretch as far as you are comfortable. You must not stretch to a point which causes pain. These hamstring stretches are quite safe, but you should avoid them in case of any sudden, acute pain.
Different methods to treat Disc problems
Myth: Brain damage is always permanent.
Fact: The brain can repair or compensate for certain losses, and even generate new cells.
People once believed that we were born with a finite number of brain cells, and that was it for life; if you damaged any of them you could never get them back. Similarly, many scientists believed that the brain was unalterable; once it was" broken" it could not be fixed.
Now, of course, we know that the brain remains plastic throughout life, and can rewire itself in response to learning. It can also generate new brain cells under the right circumstances.
I am 26 years old boy, I am suffering fron hip disorder problem, Avn. How to get rid out of this, I do not have money for operation,
Are you experiencing excessive uterine bleeding? Excessive uterine bleeding may occur between a woman’s periods or before the periods, after having sex, or due to the development of spotting or bleeding after attaining menopause. Any menstrual cycle, which lasts longer than 21–35 days is called excessive, and this is an abnormal form of uterine bleeding.
Causes of Excessive Uterine Bleeding:
The various causes of excessive uterine bleeding are as follows:
One of the main causes is hormonal imbalance, as the balance between estrogen and progesterone gets disrupted. This balance is required for the regulation and development of the lining of endometrium or uterus lining. Because of the hormonal imbalance, the endometrium develops excessively causing heavy bleeding.
Uterine fibroids, which are non cancerous tumours, may lead to prolonged and excessive uterine bleeding.
Polyps are small benign developments on the uterus lining which cause heavy bleeding. They occur because of high levels of hormones.
Adenomyosis is a condition which develops when the endometrium glands get embedded in the uterine muscle, leading to excessive uterine bleeding.
Using intrauterine devices or IUDs may cause side effects as well.
Several uterine cancers, ovarian cancers and cervical conditions may be responsible as well. Inherited bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease is another likely cause.
Several medicines and drugs, including NSAIDs and anticoagulants are a common cause.
There are different ways of treating excessive uterine bleeding, depending upon the cause of bleeding and the patient’s age.
Medications: Several medicines are used for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding. Hormonal medicines and birth control pills are used to improve the regularity of periods. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also used to manage excessive uterine bleeding. Several antibiotics are also used.
Surgery: In many cases, a woman has to undergo a surgery for the removal of polyps and fibroids, which cause excessive bleeding. Certain fibroids are removed via hysteroscopy and other techniques for treatment are used as well. Endometrial ablation can be carried out to manage the bleeding. This treatment aims at permanent reduction of the excess bleeding. Hysterectomy has to be carried out when other treatments are unsuccessful. This is a serious surgery and after it, a woman will no longer have periods, and she will not be able to conceive a child.
In case of excessive uterine bleeding, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible. This will enable early treatment and prevent the development of further complications.
Uterine cysts are a type of cysts or tumours, which grow in the uterus. This is prevalent in women when they are near their childbearing years. Uterine cysts have some typical symptoms, which would let you know when to consult a medical practitioner for further help. It would cause excessive bleeding for a long duration of time. There is bleeding from the uterus in between your menstrual cycles. At times, it becomes very difficult to empty your bladder and irritation and discomfort are caused. It also leads to constipation. These are frequent symptoms, which accompany uterine cysts. These types of cysts are almost always non-cancerous, but it is beneficial to take an expert advice on that matter. Homeopathy is a great option to treat such cysts.
Homeopathy is becoming increasingly popular throughout the entire world. Now it is time to prove to the world what homeopathy can offer in surgical diseases. Homeopathic medicines cannot take the place of surgery but can be of great help to the patients who do not want to go for surgery or cannot be operated upon due to various medical reasons. There are specific medications to treat cysts through homeopathy.
Some of them are:
Calcarea Carbonica: This medicine is suitable for those who bleed profusely during their menstrual cycle. Such excessive bleeding causes shivers and shrills in them, making them more prone to anaemia. In fact, excessive bleeding also influences their fertility cycles. This medicine is administered on overweight women who suffer from uterine cysts.
Thlaspi Bursa Pastoris: This is prescribed to women who experience frequent menstrual cycles within short intervals. In fact, one does not even recover from the shock of the previous cycle and the new one starts. It is usually accompanied by excessive pain in the uterus. This medicine not only treats the cysts, but also the frequent period cycles and pain in the uterus.
Trillium Pendulum: At times, due to excessive bleeding from the uterus, the patient suffers from fainting spells. Such cysts are also characterised by bright red blood flow during the menstrual cycle. These are the two main symptoms to administer this medicine on the individual.
Fraxinus Americana: Apart from irregular periods with pain in the uterus, it is also followed by breaking down spells. One experiences cramps in the feet during this type of cyst. In such conditions, the best natural homeopathic therapy that can be administered is Fraxinus Americana.
Calcarea Fluorica: This is a common medicine which is given to those patients who have extremely large tumours. These tumours are also characterised by their unique hardness.
Uterine cysts are a common problem in women and can be treated effectively. One needs to be alert about the symptoms and must immediately report to a specialized homeopathic practitioner for an effective administration of medicines, which may lead to a successful cure.
Ultra sound is commonly known as sonography. It is a process of reproducing ultrasound images of soft tissues of a particular body part and other organs on the computer screen with the help of the echoes of the sound waves produced by the transducer, a high-frequency generating instrument.
Ultra sound is commonly used during the different stages of pregnancy to denote the foetal health, date of delivery, birth defects etc. However, in recent times, the ultra sound has also been associated with the diagnosis of other body parts such as the eyes, heart, gall bladder, liver, ovary, uterus, kidney, uterus, testicles, and ovaries. Ultra sound has also been useful in conducting biopsies for suspecting cancer patients, although not all of the cancers are detected by this imaging process. 3D & 4D ultrasound imaging are useful for looking at a particular body portion with much more precision and in slow motion respectively.
The advantages of ultra sound are:
1. The process of ultrasound imaging is a painless and a fast one. It does not require any insertion of needles or similar objects to denote the problems of the concerned body part.
2. The process is more convenient as compared to other similar imaging processes like MRI, mammogram and x-rays as they can capture images of the soft tissues, blood flow & cysts more clearly than the other processes.
3. The process is free of any harmful effects as there are no chances of exposure to radiation as compared to similar processes such as CT scans or X-rays. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here's what you should look for:
Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:
Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Step 2: now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: while you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Step 5: finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
Sir my sister aged 32 years is going under total hip replacement. I much confused about prosthetic which one to go for Ceramic with poly or Ceramic on Ceramic Please advice which one is better.
Hello Dr. My mother facing the problem regarding slip disk in the year of 2012 now she is fine but some time he faced pain what I will do so he will get normal.
I am 38 years old man having back pain lasting for 20 days from mild to severe in left hip side. In consultation to orthopedic surgeon and after MRI one doctor told me the disease sciatica and another its slip disc. MRI of LS SPINE report says the result of AP diameter L1-L2=15, L2-L3=08, L3-L4=15, L4-L5=10 , L5-S1=09 Impression: 1) Degenerative DISC DISEASE with generalised disc bulge at L3-L4. Please tell.
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.