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Breast cancer is a type of cancer which occurs due to the development of cancerous cells in a person's breasts. Women are usually affected by breast cancer and breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer after skin cancer. Usually fatal if not diagnosed in its early stage, breast cancer is a very serious medical ailment. Read on more to find all about the different symptoms, causes, preventive measures and treatment of breast cancer.
Breast cancer has a few distinct characteristics and if you have a few or all the following symptoms you could be more likely to suffer from breast cancer.
a) The formation of a lump in your breast which is different from the surrounding tissue and usually more thickened.
b) The discharge of bloody fluid material from the nipples.
c) Sudden change of the size, shape and appearance of the breast.
d) Certain distinct changes to the skin over the breast for example an indentation in the skin similar to that of a dimple.
e) Appearance of an extra nipple which is inverted.
f) If the darkened area around the nipples known as the areola is flaking or peeling off.
Studies and researches remain inconclusive on what causes breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs due to abnormal division of the cells located in the breast which over time accumulate and form lumps. They
might spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is caused mainly due to a complex interaction of personal genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Breast cancer can also be caused due to genetics as about 5% to 10% of cases are due to gene mutations which pass onto generations.
3. Risk factors
There are certain factors which increase the probability of contracting breast cancer. Increasing age, personal and family history of breast cancer, obesity, radiation exposure, pregnancy at an older age, post-menopausal hormone therapy are some of the factors that increase the chances of breast cancer.
Several forms of surgical methods exist to treat breast cancer. Depending on the condition and spread of the disease a suitable surgery is performed. These include mastectomy, lumpectomy, axillary lymph node dissection and removal of both breasts. Other forms of treatment include chemotherapy or the use of high doses of drugs to destroy cancerous cells. Radiation therapy where X-rays are used to destroy the cancer cells is also effective.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
1. What are the symptoms of liver disease? When to see a doctor?
Most of the liver diseases present with similar symptoms with some variations. Some of the common symptoms can be loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, vomiting of blood, jaundice(yellowish discoloration of the eye), abdominal pain, itching, distension of abdomen( accumulation of fluid- ascites), swelling of lower limbs, weight loss, altered sensorium, confusion, and in a late stage- coma.
2. Can liver disease be prevented?
Liver is a crucial body organ which is responsible for processing essential nutrients from the food you eat, synthesizing bile and most importantly removing harmful toxins from the system. To ensure that your liver keeps performing its functions, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Some of the liver diseases are metabolic and hence inherent at the time of birth and manifest later. However, some of the more common liver diseases are preventable like alcohol induced liver disease, fatty liver induced liver disease (NAFLD), Hepatitis A, B and C.
3. What is liver transplantation? What is the average cost of liver transplantation?
Liver transplantation is the treatment for end stage liver disease in both adults and children. In this operation, the diseased liver is removed and replaced by a healthy one. The success rate for the operation is high and terminally ill patient can return to normal lives.
The average cost of liver transplantation is Rs 18 to 20 Lakhs at Sahyadri specialty hospital, Pune Maharashtra. The cost of investigations of the donor and recipient is Rs 90,000. When patients are too sick and require prolonged stay following liver transplantation, the cost of treatment can escalate; hence it is advisable to patients to have the liver transplantation before they develop complications secondary to the liver disease (Cirrhosis).
Most of the patients seek help at a very late stage or referred late to a Surgeon. It is advisable for patients to seek the opinion of a Surgeon at a very early stage of the disease. The patient needs to take medicines for the rest of his life to prevent rejection of the new liver. The cost of medicines and the investigations in the first year is approximately Rs 10-15000/-. The number of medicines and the frequency of blood investigations are much less after the first year of liver transplantation.
The cost of liver transplantation in India is one-twentieth when compared to USA, UK and other European Countries.
4. When should a liver transplant be performed?
When a person’s liver is severely damaged and cannot function properly or complications may develop and liver transplantation should be considered. Conditions like hepatic coma, massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and liver cancer is the best treated by complete removal of the liver (cirrhotic liver).
In general, when a patient needs a new liver, the earlier the operation, the higher the success rate is.
Urgent liver transplantation is recommended in patients who have acute liver failure and this could be due to many reasons. The common conditions are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E and drug induced. In such patients, liver transplantation is urgently needed in order to save the life of the individual.
5. What are the advantages/benefits to the recipient of getting a living donation vs cadaver?
A new liver can come from either of the two sources: A living donor or a brain-dead deceased donor.
Living donor transplantation:
It is technically feasible to remove part of the liver from a living person and transplant it to a patient who needs a new liver. The operation has now been done since 1989. Depending on the size matching of the donor and recipient, either the left side (about 35-40%) or the right side (60-65%) of the liver will have to be removed. The liver remnant in the donor will grow to its original size in 6-8 weeks time.
This process helps in an earlier transplantation before the recipients’ conditions deteriorates. It is a planned procedure whilst cadaver liver transplantation is an emergency procedure. It avoids the risk of death while waiting for a deceased donor liver graft(40% overall and 75% for patients in Intensive care units). The survival rate of a living donor transplant is over 90%.
There are risks like complications of the investigations and surgical procedures but the possibility of donor death rate is of 0.2-0.5%. Seventeen donor deaths have been reported in Brazil, France, Germany, Egypt, Hong Kong, Japan, USA and India.
This is well established in the Europe and USA. Unfortunately, the availability of deceased donor liver is not very often in India. Depending on your blood group, you may have to wait for 0 to 6 months before you get a new liver.
During this waiting period, you may develop complications like spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (infection of the fluid in the abdomen) which, if repetitive may produce severe adhesions in your abdomen rendering liver transplantation difficult if not impossible.
It is important for everyone to register for organ donation, so that when we die, this noble act will help many people to lead normal lives. In the Western world the organ donation rate is between 15-18/million population where as in Indi it is less than 1/million.
6. Who can be a suitable living donor?
The most important criteria is that the donation of portion of the liver is done voluntarily. The donor has to be less than 50 years of age, body mass index of less than 25 and is a near relative of the recipient. Both the donor and the patient should have the same Blood group or O Blood group.
Besides, the potential donor should understand clearly that
- The donor operation carries complication rate of 10-15%.
- The recipient is successful in 90-95%, which means that there is 5-10% chance of dying.
- The donation is done out of his/her own wish and without any coercion.
- There is no financial gain related to the act of donation.
- The donor has the right to withdraw at any time without the need of giving any reasons to do so.
7. Which patients are excluded from liver transplantation procedure?
Patients who have cancer in another part of the body, active alcohol or illegal drug abuse, active or severe infection in any part of the body, serious heart, lung or neurological conditions or those who are unable to follow doctors’ instructions are excluded generally.
8. What are the risks to the recipient from the surgery?
The overall success rate of liver transplant is over 94% and the majority of recipients can return to normal activities and achieve 95% of their quality of life which they had prior to liver disease. Since the recipients’ body may reject the new liver, it is essential for them to take immunosuppressive medications and continue follow up at the liver transplant clinic. They will need to continue these medications for life, at a reducing dosage.
The risk for the recipient is the return of the original problem that necessitated the liver transplant in the first place, e.g. hepatitis C, recidivism (return to alcoholism), noncompliance of medications. The other complications that can arise are thrombosis of blood vessels going into or out of the liver, primary or delayed graft non-function, bile duct complications, renal failure and other infections.
9. What are the side effects of having a liver transplant?
After a successful liver transplantation (95% of patients) – the patient is advised to take care of infections and to take anti-rejection medicines for life. The patient can return to normal quality of life and can return back to work in three months time. The patient has to regularly follow up with the surgeon in the first year and later at regular intervals as advised by his doctor. He will require blood tests to determine that his liver functions and to adjust his medications in the beginning and later the tests are infrequent. The patient is advised not to take any herbal or alternative drug treatment.
The transplant patient is assessed regularly for various complications like rejection, infection, narrowing of blood vessels etc., and appropriate treatment is initiated. Post transplantation, he is under the guidance of his doctor throughout his life. Any health problems that do come up have to be investigated and treated, though they are infrequent.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I have taken MRI cervical spine .I have disc BULGES in C3-C4, C4-C5 and L5-S1. Please explain what might be the problem. This BULGES gives which type of problems. Please help me.
Uterine fibroids are referred to as benign, abnormal growths which tend to develop in the uterine walls of a woman. The size of such growths can range from a few centimeters to even excess of a few inches. As such, they can cause the uterus to increase to the size of a five month pregnancy. Although, the symptoms of fibroids are not always apparent, they often cause heavy bleeding and pain in women. A recent research concluded that around 60 to 75 percent women contract such fibroids by the age of 50, at least once in their life.
Depending on the site of formation, uterine fibroids are distinguished into different types. Intramural fibroids in the lining of the uterus and subserosal fibroids which develop outside the uterus are the most commonly observed fibroids.
What causes Uterine Fibroids?
Although, the exact reason for the formation of fibroids are obscure, medical professionals have determined certain factors that may affect their formation. Some of them are:
1) Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle and trigger the growth of fibroids.
2) Family history: If you have had a family history of uterine fibroids, then you're likely to develop the condition yourself as well.
3) Pregnancy: The production of progesterone and estrogen increases during pregnancy which increases the likelihood of fibroids.
What are the signs of the condition?
Depending on the location and size of the tumors, symptoms of such fibroids include:
1) Heavy bleeding and blood clots during periods
2) Pain in the pelvis
3) Frequent menstrual cramps
4) Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen
5) Swelling in the abdomen
6) Pain while intercourse
What is the procedure of the treatment?
Ultrasound and pelvic MRI are common diagnostic procedures to check for uterine fibroids. After diagnosis, depending on your age, size of the fibroid and your comprehensive health, the doctor would prescribe you with appropriate medications. Only after medications prove futile, doctors opt for minimally invasive surgeries. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
With the modernization of all economies around the world, one health hazard that has become one of the largest perils within both developed and developing nations is the incidence of cancers of the female reproductive system, especially cervical and breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the formation of malignant tumors within the breast tissues of a woman. Usually, breast cancer affects women in the age range of 40 to 50, but there have been many reports of it occurring earlier. About 48 % percent of the Indian women having breast cancer have been reported to be under 50. This is an almost 17 percent jump compared to figures 25 years earlier.
Alarming Signs of Breast Cancer:
- The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded.
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Screening Guidelines for Breast cancer:
- Mammography: US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends mammography once in every 2 year for females between age group 50-75 years. Women with a family history has a benefit of starting at age 40 years. After 75 years there are insufficient evidence of benefit of screening mammography.
- Breast Self Examination and annual Clinical examination: breast self examination is easy to learn and and any abnormality should be reported to the oncologist.
- For High Risk/ Genetic risk factors: screening should start by age 25 or 10 years earlier of youngest relative affected. Annual mammogram and MRI or Doppler ultrasound alternating at 6 month interval can be considered.
Some of the common treatment options for breast cancers are:
- Breast conservation surgery - This is where the tumors are removed without cutting out too much of the surrounding breast tissue.
- Mastectomy - If the cancer has spread too far then large amounts of breast tissue has to be removed along with the tumor to stop its spread any further.
- Sentinel lymph node Biopsy - it's part of both surgical procedures, it decreases morbidities of lymph node dissection first draining lymph nodes only are removed in patients with clinically negative axilla. If negative on frozen section further axillary dissection is avoided. It avoids the morbidity of complete axillary clearance.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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.
One of my friend he is suffering due to dislocation of l5/s1 disc. The residual ap canal diameter at this level measures 6.7 mm only. Few of the doctors suggested him to do surgery but few of them not recommending surgery because he is just 27 years old. Now he is taking Ayurveda medicine. Kindly recommend the best solution or medication for this problem.
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.
With more reliable early detection methods as well as the trend towards less invasive surgery, there is hope that even more women with breast cancer will be treated successfully and will go on to resume their normal lives.
Signs & Symptoms
It is painless, especially, during the early stage. Watch out for the following changes in the breast:
- A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the axilla.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A change in the colour or appearance of the skin of the breast such as redness, puckering or dimpling.
- Bloody discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the nipple or areola such as scaliness, persistent rash or nipple retraction (nipple pulled into the breast).
Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.
Being a woman puts you at risk of getting breast cancer. There are certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of them have been listed below:
- The risk increases with age; most cases of breast cancer develop after the age of 50
- Genetic alterations in certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Family history of breast cancer
- Being overweight
- Early menarche (onset of menstruation before the age of 12)
- Late menopause (after the age of 55)
- Never had children
- Late childbearing
- No breast feeding
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for a long period of time
However, most women who have breast cancer have none of the above risk factors. Likewise, not having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.
Early Detection and Screening
More treatment options are available when breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and hence the chances of recovery is also higher. So regular breast screening is important for early detection even if there are no symptoms. Following are the ways of screening:
- Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Perform BSE once a month about a week after your menses are over. If you no longer menstruate, choose a date each month which is easy to remember e.g. your date of birth or anniversary.
- Clinical Breast Examination: Get a breast specialist to examine your breast once a year if you are 40 years and above.
- Mammogram: Go for a screening mammogram once a year if you are 40 to 49 years old and once every two years if you are 50 years and above even if you do not have any symptom. It is not recommended for younger women (less than 40 years of age) as they have dense breasts, making it difficult for small changes to be detected on a mammogram. So ultrasonography of the breasts is advisable to them.
Types of Breast cancer
- Non-Invasive Breast cancer: These are confined to the ducts within the breasts. They are known as Ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).
- Invasive Breast cancer: It occurs when cancer cells spread beyond the ducts or lobules. Cancer cells first spread to the surrounding breast tissue and subsequently to the lymph nodes in the armpit (Axillary lymph nodes). These cells can also travel to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs or brain and hence known as metastatic breast cancer.
Making A Diagnosis
If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, you should see a doctor immediately. He will examine you clinically and may ask you to undergo some tests so that a definitive diagnosis can be made. Further, the staging work up is done to find out the stage of the disease and management accordingly.
Treatment of breast cancer may include various methods such as surgery with or without breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Treatment options offered, depend upon the number of factors such as the stage of cancer and likelihood of cure, your general health and your preference. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!