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We have more than 200 bones in our body and each of them is susceptible to bone cancer. However, long bones in the arms and legs are most susceptible to this condition. Bone cancer can be primary or secondary. Primary bone cancer involves uncontrolled and abnormal cell division within the bones while secondary bone cancer refers to cancer that originated somewhere else in the body and later spread to the bones. While children and adults are equally at risk for primary bone cancer, adults and elderly people are more susceptible to secondary bone cancer. If diagnosed early enough, bone cancer can be treated and even cured with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Hence it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of bone cancer. Here’s what you should look out for.
- Pain in Bones: Pain is one the primary symptoms of bone cancer. As the tumour grows larger, this pain can become more intense. In its early stages, the pain may be experienced as a dull ache inside the bone or the affected part of the body. It may also increase or decrease according to your activity level or may be experienced only at night. However, not all bone pains signify ‘cancer’ as this is also a symptom associated with osteoporosis.
- Swelling: In some cases, the abnormal growth of bone cells can result in the formation of a lump of mass that may be felt through the skin. In other cases, the affected area may also show signs of swelling.
- Breaking of the Bone: Cancer can weaken the bones and make them more brittle. This may make the bones more susceptible to fractures. A bone breaking in an area that has been painful or sore for a long period of time may be a sign of cancer. This is known as a pathologic fracture.
- Reduced Flexibility: If the tumour is located near a joint, it may affect the range of movements possible and make simple actions uncomfortable. For example, a tumour around the knee may make walking and climbing stairs a painful exercise.
Other symptoms to look out for are sudden and drastic weight loss, tiredness, excessive sweating at night, fever and difficulty breathing in case cancer has spread to other organs. Since many of these symptoms are common to other medical disorders, you should conduct a doctor immediately if you notice any of them. A physical examination and a couple of tests along with a biopsy will be required to confirm a diagnosis of bone cancer. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!
Kidney cancer or renal cancer is when kidney cells grow uncontrollably and form a tumour. Kidney cancer often begins in the tubules (tiny tubes in the kidneys). The prognosis may depend on the stage of the kidney cancer.
Different Stages of Kidney Cancer
The TNM system helps to categorize each stage of the kidney cancer.
Tumour (T) – Describes the size and location of the tumour.
Node (N) – Describes the spread of cancer to lymph nodes.
Metastatis (M) – Describes the spread of cancer to other body parts.
These results combined with the five stages (0 and 1 to 4) can help to identify the right treatment option for every patient. Zero stage describes no cancer presence. For instance –
Stage 1 – Here the tumour is confined to kidneys and its size is smaller than 7 centimetres. (T1 or T1, N0, M0)
Stage 2 – Here the tumour is confined to kidneys and its size is more than 7 centimetres. (T2)
Stage 3 – Here the tumour is in kidneys or blood vessels or fatty tissues but also a lymph node; cancer spreads to major veins but doesn’t extend beyond renal or Gerota’s fascia (connective tissues surrounding adrenal glands and kidneys). (T3)
Stage 4 – Here the cancer is in the fatty tissues surrounding kidneys and adjacent lymph nodes; has spread to other nearby organs and beyond renal fascia. (T4)
Treatment and management of kidney cancer
Once your doctor has determined the staging of your kidney cancer, a treatment plan can be formulated for you.
- Simple nephrectomy removes the affected kidney.
- Radical nephrectomy is a common surgery for kidney cancer. It removes all affected parts such as the kidneys, adrenal gland, lymph nodes and surrounding tissues.
- Partial nephrectomy is for small tumours and removes the kidneys and the surrounding tissues.
- Interventional radiology: This is a surgery aided by real-time images. An advanced surgery using a nano knife is minimally-invasive and is effective for inoperable kidney tumours.
- Targeted therapy: Drugs target specific tumour cells and destroy them.
- Immunotherapy: Used for kidney cancer that has spread to other organs, this therapy may use different types of drugs to either help immune cells find cancer growth or regulate the immune system activity to stop or slow cancer growth.
- Arterial embolization: It is a procedure to stop blood supply to the kidney tumour, in order to shrink it in size prior to surgery.
- Cryotherapy: This procedure involves using extreme cold to kill cancer cells.
Chemotherapy is not very effective for treating kidney cancer. Talk to your doctor about all possible treatment options for your cancer. You can lower your risk of kidney cancer by eating healthy, maintaining your ideal body weight and managing your blood pressure.
Noncancerous growths of the muscle tissue surrounding the uterus are known as uterine fibroids. This is a common disease which about 70 to 80% of women contract by the time they are 50 years of age. The uterine fibroids can sometimes be very big and cause heavy periods as well as severe abdominal pain while at other times, uterine fibroids give no signs or symptoms whatsoever and go away on their own. This is why it is crucial to know what type of uterine fibroids you have and how to diagnose them. Here are the types of uterine fibroids and how to diagnose them;
There are three main types of uterine fibroids. They are;
- Intramural fibroids: The most common type of uterine fibroids are intramural fibroids. They typically appear in the endometrium and may grow larger which results in your womb getting stretched.
- Subserosal fibroids: Subserosal fibroids are called so because they form on the serosa. The serosa is the outside of your uterus. Sometimes, Subserosal fibroids may grow so large that your uterus appears bigger on one side.
- Pedunculated fibroids: Pedunculated fibroids tumors are basically Subserosal fibroids with a stem. A base which supports the tumor is called the stem.
There are a number of tests done to diagnose uterine fibroids. They are;
- Pelvic exam: A pelvic exam is a thorough inspection of a woman’s pelvic area. The organs which are in the pelvic area include the cervix, ovaries, uterus and vagina. Normally, this and the next test in this article are enough to diagnose uterine fibroids.
- Medical history: The history of your periods as well as the other symptoms you have will often be enough to diagnose the uterine fibroids. If your medical history is not enough, then you might need to undergo a pelvic exam.
- Pelvic ultrasound: An ultrasound is when high-intensity sound waves are used to produce images of the pelvic area. This is only done when a pelvic exam and your medical history are not enough to diagnose uterine fibroids. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a general surgeon.
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.
Breast cancer is a type of a cancerous infection that develops in the skin cells of the breast. This condition is more commonly diagnosed after you have skin cancer and is more common in women than men. There are certain signs to identify this disease, which are as follows.
1. Breast lumps - Lumps are patches of skin that occur due to the thickening and swelling of the skin. Breast lumps is a very common phenomenon for women but that does not always lead to a breast cancer; however, frequent and reoccurring instances of the same increases the risk of breast cancer. A breast lump is easily identifiable through the naked eye as it looks different from the surrounding tissues.
2. Blood discharge - The nipple is one of the most sensitive areas in the human body. In case of women, it is meant to emit milk during pregnancy, in order to feed the infant externally. A probable symptom of breast cancer can also be a frequent discharge of blood from the nipple without any visible damage or injury.
3. Breast changes - If you are experiencing any visible changes in the size, appearance or shape of the breast, then it is an indicative sign that you may have breast cancer. Thus, it is of paramount importance that you observe, touch and physically examine your breast regularly for changes. If there is any major change detected then it is advisable to consult a doctor.
4. Inverted nipple - The tip of the nipple is generally bulging and pointing outwards both in cases of men and women. But sometimes the tip of the nipple is pushed inside due to excessive suction caused by the skin tissues present inside the breast around the nipple area. This suction forces the nipple to grow inwards which is abnormal and might harm the breast and skin in various ways.
However, apart from these main symptoms, some other signs are also there that increase your chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer. They are redness or pitting of the skin over your breast like an orange, peeling or scaling of the pigmented area around the nipple, dimpling of the skin on the breasts, and such others. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.