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One of the things that Shannen Doherty and Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks, have in common, apart from their fame is that both were affected by breast cancer. No matter how normal a person may seem, breast cancer can strike anyone. In fact, it usually strikes one in eight women. So, it makes good sense to know what it can appear as!
Breast cancer makes up a rather big amount of the general cancer cases as 15% of the cancer cases which are reported on a yearly basis are usually breast cancer cases. That being said, there are quite a few things which can be done in order to reduce a person’s risk to breast cancer.
Effective ways to prevent breast cancer-
As with any other types of cancer, breast cancer is a condition characterized by uncontrolled and rapid cell proliferation and division in the breast, resulting in the formation of a malignant tumor. While breast cancer is known to be one of the most common types of cancer affecting women, men are also susceptible to the condition.
An early diagnosis of the condition gives a mercurial boost to the treatment for breast cancer, often ensuring a full recovery. Unfortunately, in most cases, breast cancer gets diagnosed at a later stage. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with breast cancer include:
- A change in the breast shape, size, or even the contour.
- The appearance of a lump in the breast, often pea sized.
- There may be a fluid discharge (can be clear or blood-stained) from the nipples. In addition to this, the skin around the nipples or the breast may undergo some change. It may appear red, inflamed, scaly or even puckered and dimpled.
In addition to the medications and treatment, a person with breast cancer can benefit by practicing the following tips diligently:
- Self-awareness: Nobody can know your body better than yourself. The associated complications of breast cancer can be averted if only people stop overlooking the early signs and symptoms. There are many government sponsored campaigns and programs to create awareness about breast cancer. Once a while, self-examine your breasts. Feel your breasts for any lumps or thickenings. If you notice any abnormalities, waste no time and consult a doctor at the earliest.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes: The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are important with regards to the breast cancer. These genes are responsible for the production of tumor suppressor proteins, which play a pivotal role in the repair of DNA damage (often resulting from mutations or diseases). A mutation (often genetically triggered or hereditary trait) in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can wreak havoc, elevating the instances of breast cancer and many other types of cancer (ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and pancreatic cancer, to name a few). Thus, people who have a family history of breast cancer triggered by a mutation in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes should get themselves tested as a precautionary measure.
- Obesity is a big No: Maintaining a healthy body weight is the need of the hour. Various research has found a link between obesity and increased risk of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II, women who put on extra weight (60 pounds or more) after the age of 18, are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer post-menopause as compared to their healthy counterparts. Thus, it is important to keep the body weight within healthy limits. Take care of your diet. Indulge in physical activities and exercise.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: People, particularly women who consume alcohol in excess (2-6 drinks daily) are at an increased risk of breast cancer. Limit your daily dose of alcohol (1 drink or less per day).
Prevention is Prudent-
Get Fit: The first thing which should be done is that a reasonable level of fitness should be maintained. Many studies have found that if a person is significantly heavier than her recommended weight, she is at a far great risk to develop all sorts of cancer and breast cancer, in particular, than a person who is able to keep her weight in check. The difference in cancer risk rates is about 40%. This is because a greater amount of fat leads to more estrogen being produced, which increases the risk of breast cancer.
Quit Smoking: While most people associate smoking as something which increases the risk of cancer to the lungs and are not aware that it increases the risk of breast cancer, too. So, the best solution is to kick the habit!
Get Off the Pill: Once a woman crosses past her mid-thirties, she should try to avoid relying on birth control pills to reduce the risk of pregnancy. This is because these pills have an effect which increases the risk of breast cancer, which heightens as a woman gets older. As long as the woman cuts out the use of the pill, the risk quickly gets cut, as well.
Get Regular Check Ups: While screening for breast cancer by making use of mammograms does not cut the risk of it, the screening helps detect breast cancer early if it does exist. As a result, a woman has a much better chance of fighting breast cancer. So, a woman who is past the age of forty should try to have a mammogram on an annual basis with the frequency of the same increasing as she gets older. However, it is to be kept in mind that going for a mammogram too often is also not a good idea as the tests themselves pose risks of DNA changes.
Women all around the world are susceptible to breast cancer. While there isn’t a 100% chance of avoiding it, taking care of yourself and leading a fit and active lifestyle can significantly cut down your risk of contracting this condition. Remember, your health is in your hands, so the earlier you start, the better!
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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!
Hi Sir, I want to go to gym. I have suffered from slip disk a year ago at my back. Can I lift weights?
Breast cancer awareness
October is breast cancer awareness month and a great time to highlight the importance of maintaining healthy habits to support breast health. One disease that most women fear these days, you would probably reply" breast cancer.
Understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk. So follow these guidelines and know that you are doing all that you possibly can to protect yourself from developing breast cancer. Be thankful every day that your breasts are healthy.
Check your own breasts regularly. Do monthly self-breast examinations after your period is over. If you find any lumps or tenderness that concerns you, have it checked out right away. Fortunately, 80% of breast lumps are benign. When you examine your breasts, remember that lumps which are soft, movable, and change with your menstrual cycle are much less likely to be cancerous. Any discharge from the nipple other than breast milk should be checked out by your health professional.
Get regular mammograms. In a woman without breast symptoms and with no significant risk of breast cancer, I recommend mammograms beginning age 35 or 40 every two years. For women without breast symptoms who are at higher risk of breast cancer, I recommend yearly mammograms beginning at age 35. Beginning at age 50, the rate of breast cancer goes up, so yearly mammograms are advised.
Limit alcohol intake. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.
Get to and maintain a healthy weight - if your bmi is out of the healthy range, find a program and tools to help you get to a healthy weight, which is important for maintaining health in general, including breast health. Obesity, particularly after menopause, can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer. Aim for gradual weight loss by choosing minimally processed foods and eating smaller portions.
Don't smoke - accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in pre -menopausal women.
Exercise regularly - physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer.
Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy - if you're taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You might be able to manage your symptoms with non-hormonal therapies and medications.
Choose the right supplements - filling in nutrition gaps with supplements can help you support breast health. Look for options that contain vitamin d and omega-3 fatty acids, as they have both been associated with maintaining breast health.
Breast-feed your babies for as long as possible - women who breast-feed their babies for at least a year in total have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer later.
Am 24 years old and facing disc bulge from past 4 years (L4, l5, l6) I have taken treatment with exercises, massages and Physio therapy. Which is best way to cure in a quick time.
Though breast cancer has become very common, the good news is that more women than ever are living a healthy life to tell their survival stories. They have not just survived, but are thriving. Let us take you through a couple of survivor stories which not just gives strength and hope, but also the immense courage to stand up and fight it. The names are, however, changed to prevent identity.
Help yourself and others too: For most women, getting diagnosed with blood cancer can mean the end of life. While for the medical person, it is just another individual, for the individual, there is an entire world to think of, her world. What will happen to her family, her job, her life in total. Each person is different, and so the approach has to be different. It should not be a routine combo of surgery, chemo, and radiation. While some hospitals do it, giving a personalized touch helps. That is what happened Susan, who had a complete set of people including dietitian and psychiatrist to help her. The change that she saw with this approach led her to give a helping hand to others. She presently helps people fight and overcome breast cancer and has an extremely fulfilling life.
Shrink the tumor, not your life: For a person with two kids, Tina was aghast when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was just 31, and her second daughter was just turning 1, she was extremely distraught. But, her family stood with her through those testing times when she would not have time to run with her daughter or walk along with her mother. With immense support from her family, she is now free of cancer and is a Zumba instructor and now spends quality time with her daughter.
An experiment that worked: At 46 years of age, Maya was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She found a lump in her breast, which turned out to be breast cancer. The doctor said she would need it removed, and she also opted for surgery. What worked for her, though, is the fact that she was advised to try tamoxifen, which was not so strongly recommended during the initial times. She went ahead and tried, and even after 30 years down the line, is still free of cancer.
Two lives saved: At 23, Sonia was diagnosed not just with stage 4 breast cancer, but also with pregnancy. Re-testing yielded negative results. So she went ahead with chemo and radiation, but the abdominal fullness continued, and when tested again, the tests confirmed her pregnancy. She carried it through, and delivered 4 weeks prematurely but is very healthy and cancer-free now. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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If you are suffering from breast cancer, it is recommended that you undertake Ayurvedic measures for an effective and natural treatment. Breast cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the cells of your breasts. The breast cells undergo abnormal growth and go out of control. This form of cancer is likely to occur in both women and men, although it is most common in women. A lot of breast cancer cases start from the ducts or lobes, while others start from the cellular lining of your milk ducts.
According to the principles of Ayurveda, your body is based on the tridoshas, which include vata, pitta, and kapha.
- An imbalance in these doshas can lead to diseases and disruption in your health. Cancer occurs when an imbalance of all the three doshas is experienced.
- An improper diet and lifestyle account for being the primary reason for this imbalance in doshas, leading to breast cancer.
- Your digestive fire is also affected, which leads to the accumulation of toxins, thereby blocking all the channels of your body.
- All these factors are collectively responsible for the development of breast cancer.
- Ayurvedic treatment for breast cancer is very effective because of its natural approach.
- Without the use of any chemicals and radiation, you get efficient management by using Ayurvedic remedies for breast cancer.
- Your body functioning is enhanced without the concern of any negative effect on your health.
- Several Ayurvedic herbs are used for breast cancer treatment. These herbs help in controlling the abnormal growth of breast cells, and in the later stages of breast cancer, these also help in reducing pain.
The herbs play an important role in preventing the condition from spreading to other organs.
- This powerful Ayurvedic herb contains natural rejuvenating properties for your body.
- It also helps in eliminating stress, weakness and fatigue, which are associated with breast cancer.
- This effective Ayurvedic herb contains several medicinal properties.
- It is an antioxidant and helps in reducing free radicals from your body. This is beneficial for an improved health and immunity.
- The herb is capable of dealing with toxins and infections, and is super effective in treating malignant cancers.
- This is an Ayurvedic product, which is obtained by mixing several herbs such as amalaki, haritaki, ginger, kachnar bark and a lot more.
- This is effective in maintaining healthy tissues and cells. It also stops the abnormal growth of cancerous cells.
It is important for you to visit a licensed and experienced Ayurvedic practitioner for getting the best Ayurvedic remedies for breast cancer treatment. This will ensure that you get the most effective remedies, based on your condition.
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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!