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The treatment options for bone cancer depends on the type of cancer one is suffering from, the general health of the patient, the stage of cancer and the general preference of the patient. Different treatment options are designed for different types of cancer, based on the diagnosis. Each treatment responds in a different way. An oncologist decides the treatment options considering all the factors mentioned above. For instance, some cancer is best suited to surgery, while some cancer needs radiotherapy or chemotherapy to curb them. In many cases, all three modes of treatment might be required to tackle the growth of the cancer cells.
The goal of surgery is to eradicate the cancer cells in totality along with some surrounding healthy tissues. This involves special techniques to remove a tumor in one piece. Following are the types of surgeries that are available:
- Removing the cancer cells sparing the limb: At the very first sight, the surgeon tries to understand whether it is possible to separate cancer cells from the tissues and the nerves. If the same is possible, the surgeon tries to save the limb while getting rid of the cancer cells. For the sake of safety and to ensure that the surgery is effective, the surgeon removes some of the healthy bone from the body and may replace the same with tissue from other parts of the body. To achieve this, a doctor might seek the help from of a bone bank or use a special metal prosthesis.
- Surgery that does not involve the limbs: If the bone cancer does not involve the legs and the arm, surgeons can remove the affected bone along with some healthy bone from the surrounding areas. Cancer of the ribs and the spine are good examples of this type.
- Surgery that affects the limb: Bone cancer that has spread to a significant extent and is strategically located in such areas that it is very difficult to remove, requires amputation. While this form of treatment is being increasingly discouraged by the wider medical community, it still does exist. In such cases, patients are fitted with artificial limbs and trained to do their job without the use of natural limbs.
This is a form of drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill cancer cells throughout the body. This medication is mostly given through an IV and the medication kills whatever cancer cells it comes across.
Radiation therapy involves the use of special X-ray beams that have high power and can kill cancer cells. The patients are required to lie on a table, while a machine moves around the affected area and treats it with high energy X-rays, thereby killing the cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy to reduce the size of a tumor before operating on it. Also, Brachytherapy is another kind of radiotherapy in which plastic tubes for introducing radioactive sources are placed over tutor bed during surgery, later it is connected with brachytherapy machine to give extra high dose to tutor bed to improve cure rates.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Q1. What exactly is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is an alternative to 'Open' surgery wherein the abdomen is opened by tiny 'key hole' incisions and surgery is done. 'Scopy' means the use of an endoscope or telescope to see inside the abdomen. This is attached to a camera and a light source and the inside of the abdomen is projected on to a monitor. The surgeon performs surgery looking at this screen. The surgeon makes a total of 2-4 small cuts on the abdomen ranging from half to 1 cm through which the telescope and other thin surgical instruments are passed into the abdomen. When the uterus is removed , known as hysterectomy, there is also a cut at the top of the vagina where the uterus is attached.
Q2. What kind of gynaecological surgeries can be performed by Laparoscopy?
Most surgeries done in gynaecology can now be performed by Laparoscopy and do not require the large incision as for open surgery. Laparoscopy can be done sometimes only for diagnosis and is called Diagnostic Laparoscopy, as in checking whether the tubes are open or not and to look for any causes of infertility or pain outside the uterus. In women who are unable to conceive, Diagnostic Laparoscopy is often combined with Hysteroscopy (endoscope inside the uterus, inserted from below, via the vagina). When laparoscopy is done to perform some surgical procedure inside the abdomen it is called Operative Laparoscopy. This may be for simple procedures like sterilization, minor adhesions, drilling ovaries; or for intermediate or major reasons like fibroids, endometriosis, removal of ovaries or tubes or both or removal of uterus, for staging of cancers or radical surgeries for cancer. However, about 5% of all surgeries including those for cancer or very large tumours may benefit from open surgery.
Q3. Why does an expert surgeon recommend Laparoscopy over Open Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery has many advantages above open surgery: the incisions are much smaller (open surgery incisions are 8-10 cms long), therefore pain is much less; requirement for pain killers (which can have side-effects like sleepiness, impaired judgement) is lesser; hospital stay is shorter; complications fewer; requirement for blood transfusions infrequent; recovery in terms of physical, emotional and mental state is much better and quicker; return to work is faster with consequent lesser loss of working and earning days. Surgery with laparoscope is more precise because it is magnified view. Further vision is much better because it's like having your eye behind the structure because you can see with the telescope at places where the surgeon's eye cannot reach.
Q4. If the cuts on the abdomen are so small in Laparoscopic surgery, how do you remove the uterus or a large tumour from inside the abdomen?
Quite often if the tumour is not malignant and contains fluid, it is punctured to collapse it into a smaller size. If it is solid, it can be cut into smaller pieces inside the abdomen using a special instrument. The collapsed or cut structures can be removed gently through the 1 cm cut on the abdomen which may be increased a bit if required. After hysterectomy, the uterus can be removed easily from below, through the vagina.
Q5. Will there be much pain or discomfort after Laparoscopic Surgery?
There may be some pain and discomfort in lower abdomen for one day to few days after Laparoscopic surgery but this is much less as compared to open surgery because the incisions on the abdomen are much smaller and there is much less tissue handling inside the abdomen by fine instruments instead of rough, big, gloved hands which can cause tissue injury in open surgery. There may be some pain in the shoulder following laparoscopy. This is not serious and is due to the gas used in the surgery to make space for instruments.
Q6. When can I be discharged from hospital?
Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or with simple Operative Laparoscopy you can expect to be discharged from hospital latest by the morning after surgery. In most other cases of intermediate or even major surgery, discharge is generally 1-2 days following the surgery unless there is some health issues prior to the surgery or any complication during the surgery. The complication rates for Laparoscopic surgery are not more than for open surgery and depend upon patient factors like anaemia, diabetes, obesity and skill of the surgeon.
Q7. When can I perform routine household activities or return to work after Laparoscopic Surgery?
Recovery after surgery depends upon many factors: presence of health problems before surgery; why the surgery is required; what surgery is being done; problems or complications of surgery, anaesthesia or blood transfusions. If all is well, one can perform routine household activities by 1 week, provided one doesn't feel tired. Although there may not be any harm, it may be unwise to be normally active within 48 hours of procedure. Following Diagnostic Laparoscopy or Operative Laparoscopy for simple procedures, one can return to work in 1 week. For other procedures, a 2-3 week off from work is reasonable. It depends on the type of work you are returning to. Avoid too rapid return to work if it is manually hard or requires standing for long durations of time. Sometimes a surgical procedure brings on a well needed rest and break from a lifetime of work. Mostly, when you return to work depends upon your own body and its signals of tiredness. You need to listen to those signals.
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.
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type of cancer, hormone sensitivity, size, grade and stage of cancer. A doctor considers the overall health of the patient and the patient’s individual preference before recommending a treatment plan. While there are many treatments options available for breast cancer, surgery is by far the most popular option for most patients. Along with surgery, some other treatments that a patient undergoes include radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.
- Lumpectomy: This is a procedure wherein the surgeon cuts the tumour and removes some of the surrounding healthy tissue in order to ensure that cancer does not spread to the healthy cells after the surgery. This procedure is applicable for small tumours.
- Mastectomy: This is a procedure in which all tissues of the breast are removed. This includes lobules, fatty tissue, ducts, areola, and nipple. In a skin-sparing mastectomy, all of the breast skin, except the nipple and the areola, is preserved, which makes the reconstruction process easier.
- Sentinel node biopsy: Since the sentinel lymph nodes are the first place that cancer is likely to spread, a doctor might suggest a sentinel node biopsy if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. If no trace of a cancer cell is found in the nodes, it is unlikely that any more nodes need to be removed.
- Removal of breasts: Many women who have cancer in one breast often choose to remove both the breasts in order to avoid the risk of cancer spreading. While a family history of breast cancer can greatly increase the chance of breast cancer in a woman, statistics show that most women who have cancer in one breast do not develop cancer in the other one.
- Radiation: This is a process where a high-powered beam of energy is directed at the cancer cells to kill them. This method is often used after a lumpectomy. Radiations are of two types—external beam and brachytherapy. Some side effects of this treatment include fatigue, hair fall, loss of appetite and rashes.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs. This is often recommended by doctors when there is a good chance of the cancer cells spreading to other locations of the body. This form of treatment is often recommended before the surgery to shrink a tumour or restrict the growth of cells.
- Hormone therapy: Hormonal therapy is used to treat cancers that have hormonal sensitivity. They can be used before or after the surgery in order to ensure that cancer does not reoccur. Some of the treatment methods in this section include medication that restricts hormones from getting attached to the cancer cells, medications that restrict the body to produce oestrogen post-menopause and a medication that destroys cancer receptors.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Breast Cancer can be detected at various stages. Some women might feel a difference in their breast area, with a lump or kind of a skin rash around the nipple or they could see that their nipple has become inverted, so then the treatment procedures would be different. The different stages of cancer and their respective treatment procedures are discussed below:
Stage I Breast Cancer - Treatment
In this case, breast cancers are at their nascent stage, either they have not spread to the lymph nodes or might have spread to only a small area. Treatment options are as follows:
- Surgery: The main treatment for breast cancer in stage I is surgery. These types of cancers get treatment with either breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. There are some cases when breast reconstruction can also be done along with the surgery to get rid of cancer.
- Radiation therapy: When doctors feel the need to do a breast construction surgery, then radiation therapy is normally given after surgery. This helps in lowering the chance of cancer getting relapsed. Older women, aged close to 70 years, should go for breast reconstruction surgery without radiation therapy, provided the following conditions are true:
- The lump was 2cm or less across and it has been completely removed.
- None of the lymph nodes removed contained cancer.
- The cancer is either ER or PR-positive and hormone therapy is conducted.
- Chemotherapy and other drugs: Women who have either ER or PR-positive hormone receptor, doctors would recommend them to go for hormone therapy. The therapy is given for 5 years. In case the tumor is larger than 1cm across, adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended.
Stage II Breast Cancer-Treatment
This is the stage when cancer has spread to some nearby lymph nodes. The treatment methods followed are:
- Surgery and radiation therapy: This second stage of cancer gets treated with breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. The lymph nodes nearby get checked either with a sentinel lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node dissection. Women, on whom BCS have been conducted, get treated with radiation therapy after surgery.
- Neoadjuvant and adjuvant systemic therapy: This is another method followed for treating stage II cancer. It is a good option for women with large tumors as they shrink the tumor before conducting surgery. Chemotherapy, HER2 targeted drugs and Hormone therapy all form part of treatment in this stage II.
Stage III Breast Cancer – Treatment
In stage III breast cancer, the size of a tumor is more than 5 cm, with cancer spreading on to the nearby lymph nodes. The treatment procedures followed are:
- Neoadjuvant therapy: Generally the stage III cancers are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is also given after surgery, followed by breast reconstruction surgery.
- Starting off with surgery: Another treatment option for this stage is to get started off with surgery. The tumors are quite large and they even grow on to nearby tissues, which means women need to get a mastectomy. Women having large breasts can even go for Breast Reconstruction Surgery, in case cancer has not spread on to the nearby tissues.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Dear sir, I am suffering from disc slip since 10 years. I have consulted both allopathy and ayurveda doctors. Allopathy doctors are saying it is first grade disc, after some years I need to do an operation. But ayurvedic doctors are saying I do not have any problems with disc and backbone. They are saying I have high uric acid problem and ASO and I took panchakarma treatment. Panchakarama treatment is giving some relief from the pain, but I am not sure about the problem with the disc slip. Still I am feeling some stiffness with my lower back. I have taken an MRI and x-ray. But doctors are confusing me. Can you please suggest me what to do. Is there any permanent solution for disc slip and lower back stiffness. Please help me.
Brain surgery involves several medical procedures, which incorporate fixing issues with the brain, including changes in the tissues of the brain, cerebrospinal fluid and brain blood flow. Brain surgery is quite a complicated method of surgery and the type of surgery to be conducted depends on the underlying conditions.
Reasons for Brain Surgery:
Brain surgery is performed for the correction of physical brain abnormalities. These abnormalities could occur because of diseases, birth defects and injuries. A brain surgery is required when the following conditions arise in the brain:
- Abnormal blood vessels
- Blood clots in the brain
- When the protective tissue or dura is damaged
- Due to nerve damage
- Parkinson's disease
- Any kind of pressure after an injury
- Skull fractures
- In case of stroke and tumors
A surgery may not be required for all the above mentioned conditions, but in case of many, a brain surgery is very important as the conditions may worsen health problems.
Types of brain surgeries:
- Craniotomy: During this open brain surgery, an incision is made in the scalp, and a hole is created in the skull, near the area, which is being treated. After this process is complete, the hole or bone flap is secured in its place using plates or wires.
- Biopsy: This form of brain surgery helps in the removal of a small amount of brain tissues or tumors. After removal, the tissues or tumors are examined under a microscope. The creation of a small incision and a hole in the skull is indicated as a part of this process.
- Minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery: This form of brain surgery enables the removal or lesions and tumors via the nose and sinuses. Private parts of the brain can be accessed without creating an incision. An endoscope is utilized in the process which is used to examine tumors all across the brain.
- Minimally Invasive neuroendoscopy: This process is similar to the minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery. This method also involves the use of an endoscope for removal of brain tumors. Small, dime sized holes may be made in the skull to access some brain parts.
Brain surgeries may be associated with several risks. They may be:
- Allergic reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clot formations
- Swelling of the brain
- A state of coma
- Impairment in speech, coordination and vision.
- Problems in memory
- Strokes and seizures
- Infections in the brain
A brain surgery is a serious and very complex surgery. There are different kinds of brain surgeries, which are conducted depending on the condition and severity of the disease. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Neurosurgeon.
In case you have a diseased uterus, which makes you infertile, you can undergo a procedure known as uterus transplant or uterine transplant to get pregnant. In the process of sexual reproduction, a diseased uterus does not allow embryonic implantation. This factor is referred to as uterine factor infertility or UFI. As a result, you will not be able to get pregnant. Learn more about having healthy pregnancy.
Who requires a uterus transplant?
This procedure involves women who have UFI and women who had their uterus removed by hysterectomy. Women who have a damaged uterus on account of an injury or infection, which does not function anymore, can also undergo a uterus transplant procedure. Women from the age of 21 to 45 are eligible for this procedure. Many women are born without having a uterus. This condition is called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.
Uterus transplantation begins with undertaking a uterus retrieval surgery on the uterus donor. The uterus, which is recovered has to be stored and transported to the location of the patient undergoing the transplant. An ischemic tolerance may last over 24 hours. Three major surgeries have to be carried out with the recipient. Firstly, a transplantation surgery is required in which the donor’s uterus gets transplanted. In case pregnancy develops, a caesarean section surgery has to be performed. The patient is given immune suppressive therapy. After childbirth, a hysterectomy is done in order to terminate the immune suppressive therapy.
Will the women be able to get pregnant after having sex?
Women receiving a uterus transplant will not be capable of becoming pregnant without undergoing fertility treatments. The transplanted uterus is not connected with the fallopian tubes, which is the location of the normal fertilisation process. The women will require to carry out IVF or in vitro fertilisation to become pregnant after a uterus transplant. IVF is a process in which the eggs are removed from the ovaries and get fertilised in a laboratory. Then, they are implanted in the uterus. After undergoing the uterus transplant procedure, a woman has to wait for a period of one year. The uterus requires time for healing and after recovery, the embryo may be implanted for pregnancy. After giving birth successfully, a woman will be able to keep the transplanted uterus. This is a reason why IVF is a popular procedure.
She has the option to get pregnant again. However, after giving birth twice, a hysterectomy must be carried out for the removal of the uterus. This is done so that the woman can stop using the immune suppressant drugs, which are associated with major risks. Uterus transplant is a relatively new technology. In October 2014, the first healthy baby was born to a woman who had undergone a uterus transplant. This surgery is kind of experimental in nature and is usually the last option for getting pregnant.
When the skin of a breast looks uneven, it is known as a dimpled skin. Sometimes the skin might appear to be red or inflamed. In this condition, the breast tissue gets affected and this can be a serious sign of concern for cancer. Moreover, this sign is hard to detect on your own. Usually when the sign occurs, it only occurs in one of the breasts. If a woman has it in both the breasts, then likely that it has not been caused by cancer.
Causes of breast cancer dimpling are as follows
1. Advanced breast cancer
2. Breast abscess: A hollow space in the breast that is filled with pus and is at times surrounded by an inflamed tissue.
3. Duct obstruction: The ducts that carry the milk from the nipple are obstructed causing rapid abnormal growth and functioning of the cells present in the breasts causing cancer.
4. Fat necrosis: In this condition, the neutral fats are split into glycerol and fatty acids because the adipose tissue tends to degenerate.
5. Inflammation: Inflammation in the fatty tissue of the breast
6. Mastitis: The breast tissue tends to swell up and get infected. This happens because of the bacteria that enter the breasts through the nipple and this may cause infection in the milk glands.
7. Genetic: Carrying the faulty gene is one of the main reasons why many women end up literally inheriting breast cancer. This can usually be tested with a mammography, especially if one has a history of breast cancer in the family. Yet, one must remember that it is not advisable to take this test too many times as it puts you at risk of contracting breast cancer even if you do not have it, when there is repeated exposure.
First, the doctor might perform certain tests to diagnose and determine the problem. Tests like an ultrasound, MRI or even a mammogram might be used. Depending on what the diagnoses is, the doctor might even want to perform a biopsy. In case breast cancer is diagnosed, there are certain treatments that are available. These include:
- Surgery: The cancerous tissue is removed from the breast or at times when the tissue is too big, the entire breast might have to be removed.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a medication that uses a method to send fluids that tend to kill the cancerous cells or prevent them from growing. It is a three to four hour long session at times.
- Radiation: High beam x-rays are used in order to target and destroy the cancer cells present in the breasts.
- Hormonal therapy: In this treatment, the hormones that fuel the growth of cancerous cells are blocked either through medications or surgically. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.