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The uterus is a muscular structure held in place inside your pelvis with the help of muscles, ligaments, and tissues. These muscles weaken in women due to pregnancy, childbirth or delivery complications and can lead to severe complications. One such complication is a uterine prolapse. Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position into the vaginal canal.
The causes of uterine prolapse are varied and include:
- Delivering a large baby
- Difficulty in labor and delivery
- Reduction in estrogen levels post menopause
- Traumatic childbirth
- Loss or weakening of the pelvic muscle
- Conditions which lead to increased pressure in the abdominal area such as a chronic cough, straining, pelvic tumors or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Loss of external support due to major surgery in pelvic area
Uterine prolapse can be complete or incomplete depending on how far the uterus sags into the vagina. Women who have minor uterine prolapse may not have any visible symptoms. However, if the condition worsens, it manifests itself in visible signs.
Symptoms of moderate or severe prolapse are:
1. A feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis when you sit
2. Seeing the uterus or cervix coming out of the vagina
3. Vaginal bleeding or increased discharge
4. Painful sexual intercourse
5. Recurrent bladder infections
6. Continuing back pain with difficulty in walking, urinating and moving your bowels
Without proper attention, the condition can cause impairments in the bowel, and can also affect bladder and sexual function. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Please suggest exercises for disc bulge L4-5 and L5-S1 level indenting anterior thecal sac effacing bilateral recesses and impinging on descending nerve roots AP canal diameter- 1.3 cm (L4-5 level) and 1.2 cm (L5-S1) please suggest the best exercises to cure it fully and strengthen the particular area thanks help would be appreciated :)
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast(s) start to grow out of control. It is understood as being the most common cancer, seen predominantly in females, globally. It is reasonably treatable and often curable.
1. Type: Adenocarcinomas constitute more than 95% of breast cancers with infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) being the most common form of invasive breast cancer.
Frequently occurring breast cancers present as one of the following types mainly
1. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer and is confined to the milk ducts of the breast. There is no invasion in the basement membrane. Pure DCIS metastasizes rarely. Non comedo cribrioform carcinoma is the most common DCIS found which, when compared to the comedo type, is mostly non-aggressive.
2. Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): Represents majority (about 3/4th) of the breast cancers, and is known to metastasize commonly to bones, lungs and liver.
3. Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS): Develops in multiple lobules of the breast (bilaterally). LCIS is less commonly seen, compared to DCIS.
4. Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): Represent about a tenth of all breast cancers and tends to metastasize to other regions of the body.
Less commonly occurring breast cancers such as
5. Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Is relatively uncommon and are caused probably owing to viral infections. The breast is warm, red and swollen.
6. Paget’s disease of the nipple: Is a rare form of breast cancer. It begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola.
7. Medullary Carcinoma
8. Mutinous Carcinoma
9. Tubular Carcinoma
10. Phylloides tumor etc all.
2. Gender: Affects the female populace predominantly. However, a small percentage of breast cancer is attributable to the male populace as well.
3. Etiology: No definite cause is known. However, diet, lifestyle, environment, hormonal/ reproductive factors, personal or family history of breast cancer especially in first degree relatives and also any benign breast disease history etc all are known to increase the risk of breast cancers. Specifically, excessive fatty diet, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, benign breast disease, heredity/ inheritance of mutated breast cancer genes 1 (BRCA1) and 2 (BRCA2), smoking, alcohol intake, infertility, estrogen therapy/ hormone replacement therapy (long term) in post menopausal women, delayed age at first pregnancy, nulliparity (not having child), early menstruation, delayed onset of menopause, lactating mothers not breast feeding, exposure to ionizing radiation, sedentary lifestyle, depression, exposure to MMTV virus etc all can potentially increase the risk for breast cancer.
4. Features: Signs & symptoms, of breast cancer, manifest majorly in the following ways
Lump/ nodule in the breast that gets attached to the skin of the breast over time. The lump / nodule could be hard and painless with irregular edges or it could also be soft, rounded, tender and painful.
Enlarged lymph nodes in the axilla which are palpable.
Swelling of whole or a part of a breast. This is even if there is no distinct lump felt.
Retraction or thickening of the nipple(s).
Pain in the breast or nipple.
Discharge from nipple other than breast milk.
Irritation/ scaliness of skin over the breast.
Redness of nipples
Rarely, red, swollen and tender breast.
5. Screening: Is generally recommended for asymptomatic populations goal of which, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose breast cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. It is mostly radiologic with mammography/ USG being instrumental in raising suspicions for further diagnostics (i.e. biopsy) that help detect breast cancer, if any, early.
6. Diagnosis: A self-examination/ clinical exam of the breast(s)/ axilla that reveals a palpable mass prompts the following diagnostics. Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow up imaging/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis.
- Blood: ER/ PR/ HER2/neu, uPA, PAI-1, CA15-3, CA27.29 etc all tumor markers are helpful.
- Imaging: Mammography/ USG Scan usually, as relevant. Again, CT Scan of abdomen & pelvis and chest, PET CT scan, bone scan etc all help detect metastasis, if any, for cancers in stage III & above.
- Biopsy: either excisional, incisional, fine needle aspiration (FNA) or core biopsy technique, as contextually appropriate, is frequently employed and a histopathological examination (HPE) thereof clinches the diagnosis and the nature of the disease.
7. Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy/ chemotherapy as deems appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as would be feasible contextually.
8. Prognosis: Preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for an effective therapeutic management & better prognosis. Like most other cancers, the chances of cure for an early stage breast cancer are more. The cure/ recovery chances are influenced by the type, grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all. Above-mentioned apart, age, menopause status, lymph node status, ER/ PR/ HER-2/ neu status, size & extent of breast cancer etc all also influence the treatment outlook in breast cancer. The five year survival rate is strongly correlated with the stage of breast cancer.
9. Prevention: Rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an increased focus on protective factors and avoidance of the risk factors can be of help. An adherence to a Mediterranean diet, maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle with due emphasis on regular exercising (for at least 30 minutes daily), de-stressing and relaxation is highly recommended for reducing the risks of breast cancer. A healthy eating plate comprises essentially a low fat diet, fibre rich foods including whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables cooked using healthy vegetable oils, fresh fruits of all colours as seasonally available and healthy proteins/ fats including fresh fish, poultry, beans, nuts etc all. It is advisable to limit milk/ dairy, preferably of low fat content, to 1 to 2 servings max daily. Although alcohol is optional and is not for everyone, the consumption of the same, if any, has to be strictly in moderation, and is best avoided. Smoking is to be avoided as well. Again, red meat, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks including carbonated beverages and other high calorie foods etc all, if any, are to be taken sparingly or are best avoided too. Limiting dosage/ duration of hormone therapy, if any, especially to counteract post menopausal symptoms and also avoiding exposure to radiation and environmental pollution can help reduce the risks of breast cancer. Apart from the above-mentioned, for high risk cases, a prophylactic oophorectomy, prophylactic radical mastectomy, long term hormone therapy etc all can help reduce the chances/ risks of developing breast cancer significantly. Breastfeeding is known to confer protection against breast cancer risk too.
I am suffering from sciatica for the last 6 months. Tried back exercises and muscle relaxants. The condition is due to L4/L5 disc herniation. Kindly advice.
Post kidney transplant, most people have a low immunity due to the powerful medications that are prescribed to avoid rejection of the organ. These medications tend to make the patients more prone to infections and hence, following strict dietary guidelines is necessary to avoid any complication. Also, as most people suffering from kidney failure are diabetic, hypertensive or suffer from heart disease, dietary control is mandatory. Moreover, the use of immunosuppressive drugs can increase your risk of diabetes, hypertension or heart disease.
#1: eat a protein rich diet
After a kidney transplant, the body requires more proteins to aid in the healing process and improve immunity. This is the reason, why consuming proteins should not be limited. Also, patients who were previously on dialysis had a lower protein intake, post kidney transplant, the consumption of proteins is recommended to be increased. Here are 6 protein sources for vegetarians.
#2: do not eat raw fruits
Intake of raw fruits is not advised as there is a high risk of infection due to raw food. However, you can eat fruits in stewed form as cooking lowers the active bacterial load, thereby lowering your risk of infection.
#3: include curd in your diet
Curd contains good quality protein, which is required for healing post-transplant, hence, curd should be eaten. As far as sour foods like lime and tamarind are concerned, eating them is also okay. But avoid eating grapes as they are known to interact with immune suppressive drugs and hinder healing of the kidney. Also read about 11 diet do’s and don’ts for people with kidney problems.
#4: you need not avoid fruits/ vegetables with seeds
Foods with seeds like tomato, brinjal, ladies finger, guava, watermelon, etc are considered harmless and can be taken after transplant, provided other biochemical parameters like electrolytes and cholesterol are within normal range. Also, ensure that the level of potassium in the blood is within control. However, if you are suffering from kidney stones, it is better to avoid these foods.
#5: you might need to take protein supplements
People who undergo kidney transplants are recommended protein supplements during the initial stage, however, it varies from person to person. In most cases, post kidney transplant, patients recover their appetite, hence there’s no need for any supplements. However, if the patient feels that his protein intake is not optimal, he can continue taking supplements post-transplant, but only after consulting a nephrologist.
Unlike the common misconception that kidney transplant recipients can eat everything after a transplant, you need to follow a disciplined dietary routine with numerous restrictions, depending upon your overall recovery and health. You can start eating out after three to six months of kidney transplantation, as it is the average time taken for the immuno-suppression to be stable and be at a low level. However, raw food, salads, fruits and foods kept open should be strictly avoided, even in general.
Doctor my 13 year old daughter has developed slip disc in her L4 and L5 vertebrae. What should be her treatment?
What are the alternatives to avoid surgery for my brother aged 47 identified with Listhesis with foot drop and disc extrusion. In fact I had disc bulge (L3 L4 L5) at the age of 41 in 2013 and took oil massage in Kerala for 15 days and I am doing good now.
I am having slip disc. I want to know to cure it with exercises and what are the precautions to took for this?
Lung cancer occurs at slightly younger age in women than in men. Adenocarcinoma is the commonest type of lung cancer in women. It warrants testing for some molecular markers which form the basis of targeted therapies. Thus lung cancer in women behaves biologically and clinically different from that in men
Women should take care of their health, stay away from tobacco and think positive
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.
Ultra sound is commonly known as sonography. It is a process of reproducing ultrasound images of soft tissues of a particular body part and other organs on the computer screen with the help of the echoes of the sound waves produced by the transducer, a high-frequency generating instrument.
Ultra sound is commonly used during the different stages of pregnancy to denote the foetal health, date of delivery, birth defects etc. However, in recent times, the ultra sound has also been associated with the diagnosis of other body parts such as the eyes, heart, gall bladder, liver, ovary, uterus, kidney, uterus, testicles, and ovaries. Ultra sound has also been useful in conducting biopsies for suspecting cancer patients, although not all of the cancers are detected by this imaging process. 3D & 4D ultrasound imaging are useful for looking at a particular body portion with much more precision and in slow motion respectively.
The advantages of ultra sound are:
1. The process of ultrasound imaging is a painless and a fast one. It does not require any insertion of needles or similar objects to denote the problems of the concerned body part.
2. The process is more convenient as compared to other similar imaging processes like MRI, mammogram and x-rays as they can capture images of the soft tissues, blood flow & cysts more clearly than the other processes.
3. The process is free of any harmful effects as there are no chances of exposure to radiation as compared to similar processes such as CT scans or X-rays. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
If you are concerned about breast cancer, you should know about the steps you can take to prevent the condition. Breast cancer is a type of cancer developing from the breast tissue. Symptoms such as a lump in the breast, fluid flowing from the nipple, changes in the shape of the breast and occurrence of red scaly patches on the breast denote breast cancer.
You need to make certain lifestyle changes in order to prevent breast cancer. The ways you should adopt include the following:
Limit your alcohol intake: The more you consume alcohol, the more you put yourself at the risk of getting breast cancer. It is recommended for you not to drink more than one drink per day. Small amounts of alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer as well.
Abstain from smoking: There is a direct link between tobacco smoking and breast cancer, and the risk is even more in premenopausal women. You should quit smoking to reduce the risk of breast cancer along with many other conditions, which can develop because of the ill-effects of smoking.
Control your weight: Obese women are more prone to breast cancer when compared with women with a healthy weight. This is especially true when obesity occurs at a later stage in life, after menopause.
Keep physically active: Regular physical activity is essential for you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for preventing breast cancer. 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous exercises are recommended along with strength training.
Breastfeed: Breastfeeding plays an important role in preventing breast cancer. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more protected you are from breast cancer.
Limit the dosage and duration of hormone therapy: If you undertake combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years, you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In case you are taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about alternative options such as non-hormonal therapy and medications. If you still require hormonal therapy, you must use the lowest dose that will be effective.
Avoid exposure to radiation and pollution: Certain medical imaging procedures like computerized tomography involves radiation of high doses. There is a link between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Thus, you should abstain from getting exposed to radiation and avoid taking such tests if it is not very urgent.
Maintaining a healthy diet also helps in reducing your risk of developing breast cancer. You should include food items which are plant based in your regular diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. Also, consume healthy fats such as olive oil instead of red meat and butter. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist.
I want to know about exercises being done in case of diffuse disc bulge at l1-l2 level indenting anterior the cal sac mildly with bilateral mild neural foraminal narrowing.
Liver cancer is when the cells in the liver grow uncontrolled. As the liver filters blood from all parts of the body, one of the most common reasons for liver cancer is perhaps metastasis, which is spread from other parts. Through the blood, cancer cells from other parts reach the liver for filtration and can then make the organ cancerous.
In addition to this, there are other risk factors that can lead to liver cancer. For example, people suffering from obesity, alcohol and tobacco abuse, viral hepatitis (B or C), chronic liver disease (especially in men, who are more prone than women to develop cancer), cirrhosis and someone who has a history of a prolonged use of steroids can suffer from the disease. Also, while liver cancer is very rare in the Americas, it is very common in Africa and Southeast Asia as the prevalence of hepatitis is higher in these regions.
When it comes to the symptoms, it’s acceptable that liver cancer is insidious, and the exact point of origin cannot be identified. It continues to grow until symptoms become evident, which are also nonspecific. Before analyzing your health on your own, it’s always recommendable to seek an expert’s final word on it. Let’s take a look at the top signs that might point out towards liver cancer.
- Abdominal pain: When you suffer a strong pain in the abdominal area, especially in the upper portion on the right side, it can signal a lump or a growing tumor in the liver. This can also be accompanied by middle or lower back pain.
- Weight loss: Many a time, women who suffer from a sudden loss of weight can be going through a deadly disease like this one. In most cases, these weight loss cases show no attempts on the patient’s side, that is, the weight loss occurred for unknown reasons. A loss of appetite, without any reasons, is another indicator. These can result due to unexplained reasons and should be taken seriously.
- White, chalky stools:This one is another tell-tale sign of liver cancer. Often, people tend to ignore stools in light, flaky colors. It is always better to consult a doctor, as you might be ignoring a sign of potential cancer.
- Bloating: When you feel certain heaviness or bloating in the upper part of the abdomen due to fluid accumulation it indicates, which is one of the indicators for testing liver cancer.
- Frequent body conditions: Apart from the above mentioned symptoms, one can also consider personal health history when facing any liver- related problems. Recurring severe nausea and vomiting and general signs of lethargy and weakness can also indicate liver cancer. Also, personal health history with claims the patient suffered from jaundice (due to the accumulation of bile pigments in the sclera and skin) can also be taken into consideration. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.
Good day to you. For a few months i've been having numbness and weakness in my left leg and scrotum. Got my mri results back and they say. Mild scoliosis at L4 L5 region with minor disc bulge with no nerve compression. No sign of cauda equina. Small annular tear at L4 region with muscular spasm. What's causing my numbness? How do I fix the disc bulge?
Hi I'm from South Africa. I need to have a hysterectomy done .What are cost of hospital fees, Dr. and anesthetic ,theatre fees etc awaiting your response kind regards Mariam Patel.
My mother is suffering from DVT since one week. And is in the hospital by taking medicine. Doctor suggested to do surgery tomorrow. Please suggest what is correct to do?
Our spinal disk resembles a jelly donut, wherein the softer insides are protected by the hard exterior. Sometimes, as a result of some injury or an accident the jelly slips out, leading to an extremely painful condition which in medical parlance is known as herniated disc. The pain that you are subjected to, during herniated disc, occurs as the nerves nearby are damaged due to the concussion.
Apart from pain, herniated disc is preceded by other symptoms, some of them are:
- Pain in the arm or the leg: Depending on which part of the body you have suffered the herniated disc, in the neck or in your lower back, this condition is succeeded by intense pain either near the buttocks or near the shoulders. It goes without saying that this pain increases sharply with movement.
- Numbness: That part of the body where the nerves are damaged due to herniated disc often becomes numb and has no sensation whatsoever.
- Weakness: Due to herniated disc, the muscles become weak that considerably impairs and curbs mobility.
However, there are various ways by which you can prevent a herniated disc. Some of them are:
- Exercise: Exercise in any form and even for a short while yields several benefits. Your body invariably gains momentum and agility. If you exercise daily, your spine becomes more stable and strong, thereby preventing a possible herniated disc.
- Maintaining the right and good posture: A lot depends on the way you sit and walk, in fact more than you can imagine. If you sit badly, it exerts a pressure on the spine and the discs. Subsequently, a good posture does the very reverse and curbs chances of a herniated disc in the future.
- Keep a tab on the weight: It is always healthy to maintain the right weight, the one that keeps you away from the onset of various diseases. If you are overweight, it puts more pressure on the spine disk, thereby increasing the risk of developing a herniated disc.
Breast Cancer Prevention:
Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer. Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
Changing lifestyle or eating habits. Avoiding things known to cause cancer. Taking medicine to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting.
General information about breast cancer:
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in india
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes, which have many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are linked by thin tubes called ducts.
Enlarge Drawing of female breast anatomy showing the lymph nodes, nipple, areola, chest wall, ribs, muscle, fatty tissue, lobe, ducts, and lobules.
Anatomy of the female breast. The nipple and areola are shown on the outside of the breast. The lymph nodes, lobes, lobules, ducts, and other parts of the inside of the breast are also shown.
Each breast also has blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry an almost colorless fluid called lymph. Lymph vessels lead to organs called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease. Clusters of lymph nodes are found near the breast in the axilla (under the arm), above the collarbone, and in the chest.
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer. The following are risk factors for breast cancer:
Older agea personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast diseasea family history of breast cancerinherited gene changesdense breasts
Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in the bodytaking hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause radiation therapy
The following are protective factors for breast cancer:
Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the bodytaking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy,
Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomyselective estrogen receptor modulatorsaromatase inhibitors and inactivators
Risk-reducing mastectomy ovarian ablationgetting enough exercise
It is not clear whether the following affect the risk of breast cancer:
Factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk
Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.
A personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast disease
Women with any of the following have an increased risk of breast cancer:
A personal history of invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (dcis), or lobular carcinoma in situ (lcis). A personal history of benign (noncancer) breast disease.
A family history of breast cancer
Women with a family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Inherited gene changes:
Women who have inherited changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes or in certain other genes have a higher risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and maybe colon cancer. The risk of breast cancer caused by inherited gene changes depends on the type of gene mutation, family history of cancer, and other factors.
Men who have inherited certain changes in the brca2 gene have a higher risk of breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, and lymphoma.
Having breast tissue that is dense on a mammogram is a factor in breast cancer risk. The level of risk depends on how dense the breast tissue is. Women with very dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with low breast density.
Increased breast density is often an inherited trait, but it may also occur in women who have not had children, have a first pregnancy late in life, take postmenopausal hormones, or drink alcohol.
Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in the body
Estrogen is a hormone made by the body. It helps the body develop and maintain female sex characteristics. Being exposed to estrogen over a long time may increase the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen levels are highest during the years a woman is menstruating.
A woman's exposure to estrogen is increased in the following ways:
Early menstruation: beginning to have menstrual periods at age 11 or younger increases the number of years the breast tissue is exposed to estrogen. Starting menopause at a later age: the more years a woman menstruates, the longer her breast tissue is exposed to estrogen. Older age at first birth or never having given birth: because estrogen levels are lower during pregnancy, breast tissue is exposed to more estrogen in women who become pregnant for the first time after age 35 or who never become pregnant.
Taking hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause:
Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can be made into a pill form in a laboratory. Estrogen, progestin, or both may be given to replace the estrogen no longer made by the ovaries in postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries removed. This is called hormone replacement therapy (hrt) or hormone therapy (ht). Combination hrt/ht is estrogen combined with progestin. This type of hrt/ht increases the risk of breast cancer. Studies show that when women stop taking estrogen combined with progestin, the risk of breast cancer decreases.
Radiation therapy to the breast or chest:
Radiation therapy to the chest for the treatment of cancer increases the risk of breast cancer, starting 10 years after treatment. The risk of breast cancer depends on the dose of radiation and the age at which it is given. The risk is highest if radiation treatment was used during puberty, when breasts are forming.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer in one breast does not appear to increase the risk of cancer in the other breast.
For women who have inherited changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes, exposure to radiation, such as that from chest x-rays, may further increase the risk of breast cancer, especially in women who were x-rayed before 20 years of age.
Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women who have not used hormone replacement therapy.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. The level of risk rises as the amount of alcohol consumed rises.
The following are protective factors for breast cancer:
Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the body
Decreasing the length of time a woman's breast tissue is exposed to estrogen may help prevent breast cancer. Exposure to estrogen is reduced in the following ways:
Early pregnancy: estrogen levels are lower during pregnancy. Women who have a full-term pregnancy before age 20 have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who have not had children or who give birth to their first child after age 35. Breast-feeding: estrogen levels may remain lower while a woman is breast-feeding. Women who breastfed have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who have had children but did not breastfeed.
Taking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or aromatase inhibitors and inactivators
Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy
Hormone therapy with estrogen only may be given to women who have had a hysterectomy. In these women, estrogen-only therapy after menopause may decrease the risk of breast cancer. There is an increased risk of stroke and heart and blood vessel disease in postmenopausal women who take estrogen after a hysterectomy.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators:
Tamoxifen and raloxifene belong to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (serms). Serms act like estrogen on some tissues in the body, but block the effect of estrogen on other tissues.
Treatment with tamoxifen lowers the risk of estrogen receptor-positive (er-positive) breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ in premenopausal and postmenopausal women at high risk. Treatment with raloxifene also lowers the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. With either drug, the reduced risk lasts for several years or longer after treatment is stopped. Lower rates of broken bones have been noted in patients taking raloxifene.
Taking tamoxifen increases the risk of hot flashes, endometrial cancer, stroke, cataracts, and blood clots (especially in the lungs and legs). The risk of having these problems increases with age. Women younger than 50 years who have a high risk of breast cancer may benefit the most from taking tamoxifen. The risk of having these problems decreases after tamoxifen is stopped.
Taking raloxifene increases the risk of blood clots in the lungs and legs, but does not appear to increase the risk of endometrial cancer. In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (decreased bone density), raloxifene lowers the risk of breast cancer for women who have a high or low risk of breast cancer. It is not known if raloxifene would have the same effect in women who do not have osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking this drug.
Aromatase inhibitors and inactivators:
Aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole) and inactivators (exemestane) lower the risk of a new breast cancer in women who have a history of breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors also decrease the risk of breast cancer in women with the following conditions:
Postmenopausal women with a personal history of breast cancer. Women with no personal history of breast cancer who are 60 years and older, have a history of ductal carcinoma in situ with mastectomy, or have a high risk of breast cancer based on the gail model tool (a tool used to estimate the risk of breast cancer).
In women with an increased risk of breast cancer, taking aromatase inhibitors decreases the amount of estrogen made by the body. Before menopause, estrogen is made by the ovaries and other tissues in a woman's body, including the brain, fat tissue, and skin. After menopause, the ovaries stop making estrogen, but the other tissues do not. Aromatase inhibitors block the action of an enzyme called aromatase, which is used to make all of the body's estrogen. Aromatase inactivators stop the enzyme from working.
Possible harms from taking aromatase inhibitors include muscle and joint pain, osteoporosis, hot flashes, and feeling very tired.
Some women who have a high risk of breast cancer may choose to have a risk-reducing mastectomy (the removal of both breasts when there are no signs of cancer). The risk of breast cancer is much lower in these women and most feel less anxious about their risk of breast cancer. However, it is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling about the different ways to prevent breast cancer before making this decision.
The ovaries make most of the estrogen that is made by the body. Treatments that stop or lower the amount of estrogen made by the ovaries include surgery to remove the ovaries, radiation therapy, or taking certain drugs. This is called ovarian ablation.
Premenopausal women who have a high risk of breast cancer due to certain changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes may choose to have a risk-reducing oophorectomy (the removal of both ovaries when there are no signs of cancer). This decreases the amount of estrogen made by the body and lowers the risk of breast cancer. Risk-reducing oophorectomy also lowers the risk of breast cancer in normal premenopausal women and in women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to radiation to the chest. However, it is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling before making this decision. The sudden drop in estrogen levels may cause the symptoms of menopause to begin. These include hot flashes, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression. Long-term effects include decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness, and decreased bone density.
Getting enough exercise:
Women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer. The effect of exercise on breast cancer risk may be greatest in premenopausal women who have normal or low body weight.
It is not clear whether the following affect the risk of breast cancer:
Certain oral contraceptives contain estrogen. Some studies have shown that taking oral contraceptives (" the pill") may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer in current users. This risk decreases over time. Other studies have not shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women who take oral contraceptives.
Progestin -only contraceptives that are injected or implanted do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer. More studies are needed to know whether progestin-only oral contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have not proven that being exposed to certain substances in the environment, such as chemicals, increases the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have shown that some factors do not affect the risk of breast cancer.
The following do not affect the risk of breast cancer:
Having an abortion. Making diet changes such as eating less fat or more fruits and vegetables. Taking vitamins, including fenretinide (a type of vitamin a). Cigarette smoking, both active and passive (inhaling secondhand smoke). Using underarm deodorant or antiperspirant. Taking statins (cholesterol -lowering drugs). Taking bisphosphonates (drugs used to treat osteoporosis and hypercalcemia) by mouth or by intravenous infusion.
Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.