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A mammogram is an imaging test where an X-ray is taken to recreate the internal imagery of your breasts. This is a screening test that is widely used to find the earliest signs of cancer. There have been instances where the early signs of cancer have been found up to three years before the actual development of the same. There are a number of benefits and risks in this screening method. So let us find out more about getting a mammogram, and whether or not you should get one.
- Procedure: A special X-ray machine is used for conducting a mammogram. There is a clear plastic plate on which the specialist will place the breast while another plate will press on the breast from above. While both the plates serve to flatten the breast and hold it still, the X-ray will be taken. Some pressure will be felt and the same steps will be repeated so as to get the side view of the breasts. The same procedure will be repeated for the other breast. Meanwhile, once it is done, you will need to wait so that the technician can check for clarity, and whether or not the procedure needs to be done again. The results of this procedure cannot be relayed by the technician, and all the images will be different because all breasts are slightly different from each other.
- Preparation: You will need to remember that the process can be a slightly painful one, especially once the pressure gets applied. Many women complain of discomfort and pain. Yet, this discomfort gets over before you know it. The pressure and pain will depend on the size of your breasts and how much they will have to be pressed in order to get a picture. The skill of the technician will also come into play here. One must remember not to get this procedure done a week or so before or after the menstrual cycle, as the breasts tend to be tender around this time, and the pain will be much more.
- Radiologist: Within a few weeks after the procedure, the radiologist will usually deliver the result. This is the professional who does an accurate reading of the X-ray.
- Normal and Abnormal Readings: If your mammogram result has a normal reading, then you can resort to getting one done every once in a while. But an abnormal reading will require further X-ray and tests so as to be able to tell for sure.
- Why should I get one: If you are over 40 and have a family history of such ailments, then you will have to get a mammogram done regularly. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the screening and diagnosis and advances in the treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths steadily has been declining, which is largely due to a number of factors such as earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.
Causes--it's not clear what causes breast cancer.
- Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin growing abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. The cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
- Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.
- Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it's not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It's likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.
Inherited breast cancer
- Doctors estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family.
- A number of inherited mutated genes that can increase the likelihood of breast cancer have been identified. The most common are breast cancer gene 1 (brca1) and breast cancer gene 2 (brca2), both of which significantly increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or other cancers, your doctor may recommend a blood test to help identify specific mutations in brca or other genes that are being passed through your family.
- Consider asking your doctor for a referral to a genetic counselor, who can review your family health history. A genetic counselor can also discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing with you and guide you on appropriate genetic testing.
Symptoms--signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- A newly inverted nipple
- Peeling, scaling or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
Risk factors-a breast cancer risk factor is anything that makes it more likely you'll get breast cancer. But having one or even several breast cancer risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop breast cancer. Many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors other than simply being women.
Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
- Being female.Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
- Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
- A personal history of breast cancer. If you've had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
- A family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. Still, the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- Inherited genes that increase cancer risk. Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer can be passed from parents to children. The most common gene mutations are referred to as brca1 and brca2. These genes can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer and other cancers, but they don't make cancer inevitable.
- Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
- Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning menopause at an older age. If you began menopause at an older age, you're more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Having never been pregnant. Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.
- Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
Homoeopathy today is a rapidly growing system and is being practiced all over the world. Its strength lies in its evident effectiveness as it takes a holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels. When breast cancer is concerned there are many effective medicines are available in homoeopathy, but the selection depends upon the individuality of the patient, considering the mental and physical symptoms.
- Phytolacca decandra 200- phytolacca dec is an excellent remedy for breast cancer where the breast is hard, painful and of purple hue. Hard nodes in breast with enlarged axillary glands. Nipples cracked, very sensitive and inverted. Bloody watery discharge from breasts.
- Conium maculatum 3c- conium maculatum is also effective for breast cancer with hard tumor. Hard tumors in breasts with stitches or piercing pain. Stitches in breasts and nipples, on taking deep breath or walking. Conium mac is suitable to old maids and bachelors.
- Carcinosin 30- start treatment with this remedy.
- Htdrastis canadensis 3c-hydrastis canadensis is another excellent remedy for breast cancer with pains like knives thrust into part. With cancer the nipples retracted. The glands in the axilla enlarged and painful. Cachectic appearance – excessive emaciation and weakness along with breast cancer.
- Asterias rubens 3c- asterias rubens is effective for breast cancer even in ulcerative stage. There is acute sharp pain. Nodes and induration of breast gland, dull, aching neuralgic pain in this region. Breasts swell, especially left and nipple retracted. Left breast feels as if pulled inward and pain extends over inner arm to end of little finger. Numbness of hands and fingers of left side.
- Arsenicum album 200-arsenic alb is effective in aggressive open ulcer with offensive discharge. Ulcers with burning, cutting pain and bloody offensive discharge. There is great anguish and restlessness. The person thinks it is useless to take medicine, fear of death and disease.
- Antimonium crudum 200- antimonium crudum is also effective for open ulcer with offensive discharge. There is burning and itching worse at night. Digestion of the patient is easily disordered in antimonium crude.
- Psorinum 200- psorinum is effective for breast cancer with open ulcers. Offensive discharge from the ulcer. The breast is swollen with red nipples. Burning and itching around nipples.
- Thuja occidentalis 3c- thuja occidentalis is best for breast cancer with retracted nipples.
- Malandrinum cm- malandrinum is effective to remove cancerous deposits and remission of primary cancer and shrinkage of mass.
Flattening of thoracic curvature ,to some extent .diminution of disc spaces with small osteophytes formation at the adjacent vertebral margins at T4>T8. No other obvious abnormality IMPRESSION - (Early/min) spondylitis changes -Mid-thoracic spine This is my x ray report please tell me is that a major problem or it can be heal with medicine and exercise and what r the reason for this. Please tell.
I have slip disc l4, l5 Should I avoid carrying weights. More over what are the exercise I must follow?
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.
Are you experiencing excruciating headache? you probably didn't know but you could be suffering from brain aneurysms. It is described as bulge formation in the blood vessel in the brain. It is a totally asymptomatic condition as one does not display any symptoms until the bulge vessel ruptures which may result in blood releasing in the skull which may further lead to a stroke. The bulge is often formed in the gaps between the tissues covering the brain and brain itself.
Most common treatment options for ruptured aneurysm
There are two common treatment options for a ruptured brain aneurysm endovascular coiling and surgical clipping. Both these procedures have certain risk factors, therefore it is best to discuss the details with a neurologist. The endovascular coiling is a less invasive process where the surgeon inserts a hollow tube or catheter into an artery and threads it through the body to reach an aneurysm. Then a guide wire is sent to push a soft platinum wire through the catheter. This coils up and disrupts the flow of blood into the aneurysm and leads to blood clotting. The clotting is essential in sealing off the aneurysm from the artery.
The surgical clipping is a process used for closing off the aneurysm, and a section of the skull is required to be removed for assessing the affected part. It also helps in locating the blood vessel that is responsible for the problem. Finally, a metal clip is placed on the neck of the aneurysm to stop the flow of blood. Though endovascular coiling is less invasive and said to be safer, adequate post-treatment care is necessary to minimize risks.
To treat larger aneurysms, a treatment called flow diverters may be useful. Since, the treatment is decided based on the size, location, apperance and your health condition, your doctor will be the best person to take the final call.
Other procedures to treat symptoms
Other than the surgical procedures several treatments might be prescribed to treat the symptoms and to manage complications. A few commonly advised treatments are:
- Pain relievers: To manage headaches
- Calcium channel blockers: One of the most common complications that may arise with an aneurysm is calcium entering the walls of blood vessels which may result in narrowing of walls. Calcium channel blockers are medications may be prescribed by the doctors to deal with the complication
- Anti seizure medications: Medications such as levetiracetam, phenytoin, valproic acid, and others are prescribed to treat seizures associated with aneurysms
- Procedures to prevent stroke: An insufficient blood flow may result in a stroke and to prevent it, the drug vasopressor is injected intravenously, or angioplasty is performed.
- Rehabilitative therapy: Damage to the brain may require the patient to undergo several physical and occupational therapy.
If you suffer from the condition, it is advised to keep a check on the blood pressure and quit smoking as they can help in reducing the risks associated with aneurysms.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am a male aged 52 yrs. I have slip disc problem because of which my left hand becomes senseless as soon as I do some work with it. This problem is there for past 8- 10 yrs. I also have severe back pain from time to time. Please suggest remedy, if any.
Breast cancer is a form of cancer which develops from the breast tissue. Breast cancer is indicated by signs such as a lump in the breast, changes in breast shape, fluid flowing from the nipple, dimpling of skin, or the development of red scaly patches. Breast cancer is a fatal form of cancer in women and immediate diagnosis is required on observing the symptoms.
Diagnosis of breast cancer
Other than the regular breast screening, the diagnosis of breast cancer involves the following steps and methods:
- Seeing your general practitioner (GP): It is very important to visit your GP soon after noticing the symptoms of breast cancer. Your GP will examine you properly and in case your symptoms need more assessment, he/she will refer you to a breast cancer clinic.
- Mammogram and breast ultrasound: You will be required to have a mammogram, as recommended by a specialist breast unit. This is an X-ray of the breasts. An ultrasound scan may also be required. Breast ultrasound should be undertaken only if you are less than 35 years of age. This is because, young women have denser breasts and a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in the diagnosis of breast cancer. In ultrasound, high frequency sound waves are used for obtaining an image of your breasts. It is observed to notice any abnormality or lumps. A breast ultrasound is also important for determining whether a lump is solid or contains liquid.
- Biopsy: In this diagnosis process, a sample of the tissue cells is taken from the breasts and tested under a microscope to find out if it is cancerous. A scan and needle test for the lymph nodes present in your armpit is also done to check whether they have also been affected. A biopsy is undertaken in several ways, depending upon the condition and severity. A needle aspiration biopsy is used for testing a sample of your breast cells without the removal of the tissues. This is the most common form of biopsy and it is also used for draining a small fluid-filled lump or benign cyst. During the process, you will be given a local anesthetic. Usually, a needle biopsy is carried out guided by an X-ray, ultrasound and an MRI scan as well. This helps in distinguishing it from non-invasive changes such as ductal carcinoma in situ.
Another form of biopsy used for the diagnosis of breast cancer is called vacuum assisted biopsy or mammotome biopsy. In this process, a needle gets attached to a suction tube, which helps in obtaining the sample and for clearing the bleeding.
Many women develop uterine fibroids by the time they hit the age of 50 years and above. These are non-cancerous growths that may occur in the uterus. Most women go through severe bleeding and pain as well as discomfort as a result of these fibroids. Age, family history of the same condition, obesity or being overweight, eating habits and even ethnicity play a large role in deciding the risk of each individual patient. These fibroids can grow in the submucosal, intramural and subserosal areas.
Following are the common side effects of uterine fibroids:
- Frequent urination: Due to the pressure of the fibroids on the uterus, the patient may experience a constant feeling of fullness in the lower pelvic area of the body, which may lead to frequent filling of the bladder. This gives rise to frequent trips to the washroom for urination.
- Heavy Bleeding: Severe bleeding is one of the most common causes of the presence of these kinds of fibroids. The patient may experience a lot of bleeding during menstrual periods, as well as pain and cramps the rest of the time. The periods will also be very painful when there are fibroids in the uterus or the uterine lining.
- Painful Intercourse: It is a well-known fact that any kind of infection or growth as well as sores and other such ailments can lead to vaginal dryness as well as pain during sexual intercourse. This is true for uterine fibroids as well, which can lead to severe pain during sexual activity. These fibroids can also give rise to pain in the lumbar or lower back region.
- Abdomen Swelling: The abdomen may go through significant swelling in such a condition and the patient may even look like she is pregnant. The growth can push the shape of the abdomen outwards and create a full feeling.
- Pregnancy Complications: The presence of uterine fibroids can give rise to several complications during pregnancy and even after child birth. One of the most common problems in this case is bleeding, followed by more severe outcomes like miscarriage. The women suffering from uterine fibroids are at greater risk of undergoing a caesarean section for the delivery of the baby. The baby may also be born breech and a premature delivery may take place.
- Infertility: This is also a rare side effect of the uterine fibroids and is generally seen only in very severe cases.
- Cancer: Only one in every 1000 cases might transform into malignant tumours. These uterine fibroids are generally known to be non-malignant.
Any symptoms must be reported to a gynaecologist at the earliest to avoid any serious complications.