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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.
Left paracentral L5-S1 disc protrusion causing compression of left traversing nerve roots associated with diffuse L1-L2 Disc bulge. Now what is best treatment for me.
I have L5-S1 disc extrusion condition from a year resulting in severe pain in the right leg. Is surgery the only solution?
I have been diagonosed for Lumber region disc displacement/compression in L1-L2-L3-L4.Though I have been taking homeo medicine for past 8-9 months, the pain subsidise for some days but comes back again at lower back and down the right leg thighs,knee and calf muscles. Sometimes it is also on left leg side. Can I restart tretment again. Prescribe some medicines and other preventive treatment to correct this defect
Cerebral ischaemia or brain ischemia is a medical condition that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, resulting in an unmet metabolic demand. This leads to limited oxygen supply in the brain, which could result in death of brain tissues, cerebral infarction or an ischemic stroke. Thus, a cardiorespiratory arrest, a stroke, and irreversible brain damage are few possible consequences of cerebral ischaemia.
People with compressed blood vessels, low blood pressure, congenital heart defects or sickle cell anaemia have a high risk of developing cerebral ischaemia, since compressed blood vessels or very low pressure can lead to restricted blood flow. Also, sickle-shaped cells have a greater tendency to clot, causing obstructed blood flow.
Patients with cerebral ischaemia experience a host of symptoms, such as weakness in the body, problems in coordination and movement, vision and speech impairment and unconsciousness.
Cerebral congestion, on the other hand, refers to excessive quantity of blood in the brain vessels, causing pressure on the cerebral substance. Cerebral congestion is of two types. It is termed as active when there is too much arterial blood flow and passive when there is undue quantity of venous blood in the veins of the brain. Both conditions cause symptoms, such as severe headache, insomnia, irritability and unconsciousness. The patient gets little sleep and is disturbed, often followed by dreams. When awake, the patient’s mental activity in the brain is very high.
Homeopathy is now a well-established school of medicine backed with years of research and practice. Gone are the days when homeopathy was considered no more than an extension of herbal home remedies. Homeopathic laboratories around the world produce large number of medicines covering almost all ailments. The benefits of homeopathic treatment are now well established due to its holistic approach and minimal side effects. Homeopathy is undoubtedly a ray of hope for patients with cerebral ischaemia and cerebral congestion, as it delivers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to target the signs and symptoms of the disease and address its non-occurrence.
The medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headache, vomiting, insomnia, stroke/convulsions and seizures. The stramonium drug, for example, deals with seizures. Belladonna is an effective remedy for sharp shooting headaches, a common symptom of cerebral congestion. Ferrum is believed to be a valuable remedy for brain ischaemia. Few drugs deal with the symptoms of both ischaemia and congestion—nux is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischaemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion. Similarly, phosphorus can be used to treat brain ischaemia and congestion. Zincum metallicum is a highly recommended drug for chronic cases of ischaemia.
The treatment is comprehensive and long term and shows substantive results. Regular follow-ups and consultation with a homeopath specialist is the key to an effective treatment.
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.
Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women throughout the world. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, approximately one out of every 14 men and women in the U.S. is diagnosed with cancer of the lung at some point in their lifetime. Lung cancer is predominantly a disease of the elderly; almost 70% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65 years of age, while less than 3% of lung cancers occur in people under 45 years of age.
What Causes Lung Cancer?
The development of lung cancer is strongly associated with cigarette smoking, approximately 90% of lung cancers are attributable to use of tobacco. Pipe and cigar smoking can also cause lung cancer, but the risk is not as high as with cigarette smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are cancer causing (carcinogens). Passive smoking, i.e. the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non-smokers who live or work with smokers, is also an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer.
Genetic susceptibility (i.e. family history) may play a role in the development of lung cancer. Other causes of lung cancer include air pollution (from vehicles, industry, and power generation) and inhalation of asbestos fibres (usually in the workplace).
Lung Cancer Symptoms:
Early symptoms and signs of lung cancer:
There may be no symptoms at the onset of the disease. When present, common symptoms of lung cancer may include:
- Coughing: This includes a persistent cough that doesn't go away or changes to a chronic smoker's cough, such as more coughing or pain.
- Coughing up blood: Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm) should always be discussed with your doctor.
- Breathing Difficulties: Shortness of breath, wheezing or noisy breathing (called stridor) may all be signs of lung cancer.
- Loss of Appetite: Many cancers cause changes in appetite, which may lead to unintended weight loss.
- Fatigue: It is common to feel weak or excessively tired.
- Recurring infections: Recurring infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia, may be one of the signs of lung cancer.
Signs of advanced stages of lung cancer: Advanced stages of lung cancer are often characterized by the spread of cancer to distant sites in the body. This may affect the bones, liver or brain. As other parts of the body are affected, new lung cancer symptoms may develop, including:
- Bone pain
- Swelling of the face, arms or neck
- Headaches, dizziness or limbs that become weak or numb
- Lumps in the neck or collar-bone region
Treatment: Treatment for cancer involves a combination of surgery to remove cancer cells, chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Lung cancer is incurable unless complete surgical removal of the tumour cells can be achieved. Surgery is the most effective treatment for lung cancer, but only a few percentage of lung cancers are suitable for surgery i.e. Stage I and II NSCLC and cancer that has not spread beyond the lung.
Radiation therapy may be used for both NSCLC and SCLC and is a good option for people who are not suitable for surgery or who refuse surgery. Chemotherapy is used for both NSCLC and SCLC. Chemotherapy drugs may be given alone or in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is the treatment of first choice for SCLC since it has usually spread extensively in the body by the time it has been diagnosed.
Also used in the treatment of lung cancer are targeted therapies. These are drugs (gefitinib and erlotinib) or antibodies (cetuximab, bevacizumab) that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression. They are used in some patients with NSCLC that does not respond to standard chemotherapy.
I have diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma, NOS, in right breast (in biopsy report, triple negative (ER-negative, PR-NEGATIVE, HER 2-NEGATIVE). The tumor measures 4 cm* 3 cm mammographically. After giving 3 no. Of chemo My doctor suggest me for modified radical mastectomy. Please tell me if I go for complete breast removal & subsequent chemotherapy Radiotherapy is must or optional?
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.
I have back pain before 3 years. I have checked MRI test in hospital that result show the mild disc dics bulge noted at L4 and L5 level intending the thecal sac without neurological compression. Doctor has given pain relief tablets but no get relaxation. Please give me solution.
This is my Mri report impression. Disc degeneration and disc bulge is seen at L5/S 1 level indenting the thecal Sac without any nerve root compression. Annulus tear is noted. 2 this r my x ray report impression. Pid L5. S 1.
Annular tear with right paracentral, foramina extrusion of L1-S1 intervertebral disc causing significant compression of the traversing right S1 nerve root Kindly suggest treatment and Medicines.
I have noticed that the space between c5 and c6 of my spine have increased and as a result my neck and shoulder are very painful. I have also little tmj. What will I do now? Please Please help me.
Also known as slipped disc, herniated disc or sciatica. The discs are the shock absorbers of your spine. When they are injured the inner soft part of the disc can protrude out through a tear in the outer lining of the disc. This disc material can press on the nerves in the spinal column, injuring them through direct pressure and causing inflammation.
The most common age to develop a disc prolapse is between the ages of 30-50 years., twice as many men as women are affected. Prolpased discs occur mainly in the low back (lumbar) spine. Less than I in 20 cases of back pain are due to a disc prolapse, most are due to mechanical back pain. (see section back pain).
A slipped disc is characterised by sudden, severe back pain that is often made worse by movement and which can usually be eased by lying down flat.
Nerve root pain (sciatica) can also occur because a nerve is trapped or irritated by a prolapsed disc. Although the problem is in the back, patients experience pain along the course of the nerve, for example, down a leg to the calf or foot.
With a prolapsed disc, the sciatic nerve is most commonly affected. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is made up from several smaller nerves that come out from the spinal cord in the lower back and travels down each leg. The irritation or pressure on the nerve may also cause pins and needles, numbness or weakness in part of a buttock, leg or foot.
In rare cases, cauda equina syndrome can occur. This is a disorder where the nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord are trapped. It can cause low back pain as well as problems with bowel and bladder function and weakness in one or both legs. These symptoms need urgent medical treatment to prevent permanent damage to the nerves that supply the bladder and bowel.
A large number of people can have a prolapsed disc without any symptoms if it doesn’t trap or irritate the nerve.
A doctor will normally be able to diagnose a prolapsed disc from the symptoms and by examining the patient.
In most cases, no tests are needed, as the symptoms often settle within a few weeks.
Tests such as x-rays or scans may be advised if symptoms persist. In particular, an MRI scan can show the site and size of a prolapsed disc. This information is needed if surgery is being considered