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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.
I am 29 years old. I am from bangladesh. I have a problem with my backbone. I have slipped disc. I have been suffering from this since 2011. I consulted with some local doctors. They prescribed me with some exercise but no improvement till now. I feel that a bone or two is/are displaced somewhere my waist. I need expert suggestion.
Hello sir. I have lower back pain since 2 months back. I have done mri there is disk problem. What is permanent solution is surgery kindly help me.
Hi sir my mother 72 year old she is suffering slip disk problem mri report conclusion/impression- Mr. Imaging reveal degenerative changes affecting lumbar spine with disc bulge-herniation at l1-2, l3-4, l4-5 and l5-si levels, more at l2-3, l3-4, l4-5 and l4-s1 level (protrusion), together with ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and facetal arthropathy are producing secondary canal stenosis with narrowing of bilateral neural foraming. Canal stenosis is most sever at l4-5 level.
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.
The human brain is the most complex and least understood part of the human anatomy. There may be a lot we don’t know, but here are a few interesting facts that we’ve got covered.
Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. Ever wonder how you can react so fast to things around you or why that stubbed toe hurts right away? it’s due to the super-speedy movement of nerve impulses from your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa, bringing reactions at the speed of a high powered luxury sports car.
The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb. The cartoon image of a light bulb over your head when a great thought occurs isn’t too far off the mark. Your brain generates as much energy as a small light bulb even when you’re sleeping.
The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the encyclopedia britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1, 000 terabytes. The national archives of britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.
Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen that enters your bloodstream. The brain only makes up about 2% of our body mass, yet consumes more oxygen than any other organ in the body, making it extremely susceptible to damage related to oxygen deprivation. So breathe deep to keep your brain happy and swimming in oxygenated cells.
The brain is much more active at night than during the day. Logically, you would think that all the moving around, complicated calculations and tasks and general interaction we do on a daily basis during our working hours would take a lot more brain power than, say, lying in bed. Turns out, the opposite is true. When you turn off your brain turns on. Scientists don’t yet know why this is but you can thank the hard work of your brain while you sleep for all those pleasant dreams.
Scientists say the higher your i. q. The more you dream. While this may be true, don’t take it as a sign you’re mentally lacking if you can’t recall your dreams. Most of us don’t remember many of our dreams and the average length of most dreams is only 2-3 seconds–barely long enough to register.
Neurons continue to grow throughout human life. For years scientists and doctors thought that brain and neural tissue couldn’t grow or regenerate. While it doesn’t act in the same manner as tissues in many other parts of the body, neurons can and do grow throughout your life, adding a whole new dimension to the study of the brain and the illnesses that affect it.
Information travels at different speeds within different types of neurons. Not all neurons are the same. There are a few different types within the body and transmission along these different kinds can be as slow as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec.
The brain itself cannot feel pain. While the brain might be the pain center when you cut your finger or burn yourself, the brain itself does not have pain receptors and cannot feel pain. That doesn’t mean your head can’t hurt. The brain is surrounded by loads of tissues, nerves and blood vessels that are plenty receptive to pain and can give you a pounding headache.
80% of the brain is water. Your brain isn’t the firm, gray mass you’ve seen on tv. Living brain tissue is a squishy, pink and jelly-like organ thanks to the loads of blood and high water content of the tissue. So the next time you’re feeling dehydrated get a drink to keep your brain hydrated.
Does Knuckle breaking at neck at regular intervals when I'm feel stressed, will that leads to an disk injury or any problems in future. Usually I keep doing that when I work out in gym.
Patra panda sweda(ela kizhi) is a specialized therapy which is performed for the diseases related to Bones, muscles and nerves. Patra means leaves of medicinal plants. Pinda means a bolus. Sweda means Fomentation or sudation. The swedana karma or sudation therapy which is given by using a bolus which is prepared by the different combination of medicinal leaves which is processed with medicinal oil along with the medicinal herbs is called as patra panda sweda or ela kizhi. This procedure is unique, which comprises both snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation) (snehayukta swedana)
Benefits of Patra Pinda Sweda:
It strengthens and rejuvenates the bones, muscles and nerves
Strengthens the tissues
Increases the circulation
Provides color and complexion of the skin
Helps to Reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness of the muscles
Induces good sleep and reduces the stress.
Sprains and cramps
Sir I am suffering from disc problem symptoms are: Hands and chest become pain and fire can I have solution.
I have a back disc doctor has advised to take complete bed rest for 3 months but I am preparing for competitive exam which is not possible. is there any way so that I will be ok?
What is ECMO?
Like dialysis for unfunctional kidney, Ecmo for unfunctional lung.
Ecmo stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a method of giving oxygen for the body when icu pateint lungs and/or heart are not able to supply oxygen on their own.
Why ICU pateint put on ECMO?
Doctors place ICU patients on ECMO when patients are not able to supply oxygen to the body.
ICU patients’ lungs fail for a number of reasons including pneumonia, lung cancer, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and COPD.
When a patient’s lungs fail, he/she first is intubated (breathing tube) and hooked up to a ventilator (breathing machine).
However, sometimes lungs are so damaged that providing oxygen through intubation is not enough.
This is when doctors turn to v-v ecmo.
A heart can fail for many reasons including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, bad valve disease, or worsening heart failure. When a heart fails, doctors try to fix the underlying problem. They may also start medications (called ionotropes) to help improve the pump function of the heart. If medications are not enough, doctors will turn to v-a ecmo.
How long can someone stay on ecmo?
That is a complicated question. Due to the risks of ecmo discussed above, doctors try to keep patients on ecmo for as short a time as possible. Often patient will be on ecmo for several days up to 1-2 weeks. Every day, several blood and imaging tests are done to determine if a patient is ready to come off ecmo. As the technology of ecmo improves, hopefully side effects will decrease and patients can remain on ecmo for longer periods of time.
What is the difference between ecmo and a ventilator (breathing machine)?
Both ecmo and a ventilator aim to provide oxygen to the body when the patient’s own lungs and breathing are failing. The ventilator assists the patient’s own lungs by pushing oxygen with pressure into the lungs. Ecmo instead provides oxygen directly via a catheter placed in a patient’s vein or artery. We almost always try oxygenating a patient with a ventilator first. However, when a patient’s lungs are too sick for this, we turn to ecmo to assist in providing oxygen to the body. V-v ecmo provides oxygen through a vein. This blood then has to travel to the heart and be pumped around the rest of the body through arteries. Therefore, with v-v ecmo or with a ventilator, a patient must have a well-functioning heart to get the oxygen pumped throughout the body. V-a ecmo has the additional advantage of pumping blood directly to arteries. This “by-passes” the heart and is therefore the method of ecmo we use when a patient’s heart is failing.
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.
Good day to you. For a few months i've been having numbness and weakness in my left leg and scrotum. Got my mri results back and they say. Mild scoliosis at L4 L5 region with minor disc bulge with no nerve compression. No sign of cauda equina. Small annular tear at L4 region with muscular spasm. What's causing my numbness? How do I fix the disc bulge?
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.?
I have some disc problem, in MRI report L5S1, how can I remove this problem, which exercise is useful in this problem.
Doctor my 13 year old daughter has developed slip disc in her L4 and L5 vertebrae. What should be her treatment?
As per my MRI report for lumber spine, disc protrusion seen at L5-S1 indenting anterior thecal sac and narrowing left neural recess. Disc hydration is Los at L5-S1. I have severe lower back pain for last one month. What is the ideal plan for treatment?
1. You felt a lump in your breast and it always means you have breast cancer.
It's a small percentage of breast lumps only that will turn out to be cancer. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, never ignore it. You must see a physician for a clinical breast examination. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.
Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication and counseling with your doctor, getting an annual clinical breast exam, and scheduling your routine screening mammograms.
2. Only women get breast cancer, men do not.
Quite the contrary, each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.
Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.