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Dr. Vinay Choudhary

MD - Radiology

Radiologist, Pune

25 Years Experience  ·  350 at clinic
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Dr. Vinay Choudhary MD - Radiology Radiologist, Pune
25 Years Experience  ·  350 at clinic
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Personal Statement

To provide my patients with the highest quality healthcare, I'm dedicated to the newest advancements and keep up-to-date with the latest health care technologies....more
To provide my patients with the highest quality healthcare, I'm dedicated to the newest advancements and keep up-to-date with the latest health care technologies.
More about Dr. Vinay Choudhary
Dr. Vinay Choudhary is one of the best Radiologists in central Panchgani, Pune. He has been a successful Radiologist for the last 25 years. He is a qualified MD - Radiology . You can consult Dr. Vinay Choudhary at Choudhary X-Ray & Sonography Clinic in central Panchgani, Pune. Book an appointment online with Dr. Vinay Choudhary and consult privately on Lybrate.com.

Lybrate.com has top trusted Radiologists from across India. You will find Radiologists with more than 44 years of experience on Lybrate.com. You can find Radiologists online in Pune and from across India. View the profile of medical specialists and their reviews from other patients to make an informed decision.

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Specialty
Education
MD - Radiology - B J MEDICAL COLLEGE PUNE, - 1993
Languages spoken
English
Hindi
Professional Memberships
Indian Radiological and Imaging Association

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Choudhary X-Ray & Sonography Clinic

No. 4, Ganga Complex-II, Airport Road. Landmark: Opp. Neeta Park, PunePune Get Directions
350 at clinic
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Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?

MBBS, MS- General Surgery
General Surgeon, Ambala
Is Surgery The Best Option For Treating Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women. It is also deemed to be one of the major reason of death among women, though lung cancer is the leading cause of this. The chances that a woman may die of breast cancer is about 2.7% of the women who are suffering. Breast cancer is known to affect men as well, in certain cases. Breast cancer may be genetic but, in certain cases, it is caused due to excess intake of alcohol. Surgery is an option, but treatments also include therapies like radiation and chemo.

Treatment for breast cancer
Breast cancer can be treated in several ways; however, the treatment depends upon many factors. These factors include the type of breast cancer, its stage, sensitivity of a person to the hormones, age of the patient, health of the patient and most importantly, preferences of the patient. The most common treatment options for breast cancer are radiation therapy, biological therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery.

Chemotherapy
Cytotoxic drugs are important medications that are used to eliminate cancer cells. This medication is used if the chances of the cancer cells spreading are high. This process is known as the adjuvant chemotherapy.
Many a time, the tumor increases in size and surgery becomes essential. This is when the chemotherapy is administered to reduce the tumor size and make it easier for the surgeons to remove the tumor. This process is referred to as neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can treat metastasized cancer or cancer that has affected other body parts, thereby reducing the symptoms, mostly in the advanced stages.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation is targeted towards the tumor in controlled doses so that the cancer cells are destroyed. Radiation therapy is mostly advised to the patients after they go through surgery, to eliminate the cancer cells that may still be there.

Hormone blocking therapy
Most people go through breast cancer that is hormone sensitive. The hormone blocking therapy helps in preventing the recurrence in this type of breast cancer. The hormone blocking therapy is also used to reduce the size of the tumor, but this method is also suggested after a person goes through surgery.

Biological treatment
There are some drugs that fall under this category that is used for destroying the various types of the breast cancer.

Surgery
If at all the patient requires surgery, it depends on his or her diagnosis reports and his or her will to undergo surgery. The types of surgery include Lumpectomy, Sentinel node biopsy, Mastectomy, Axillary lymph node dissection, and Reconstruction. Reconstruction is the method which the doctors make use of to make both the breasts look similar after the surgery is complete. There are several treatment options available to treat breast cancer, and it depends on the choice of the patient to opt for surgery. Surgery helps in eliminating the risk of the spreading of the cancer cells, and it is one of the most effective treatments for breast cancer.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2918 people found this helpful

I've been suffering from L5-S1 slipped disc from 7 months. I've been doing exercises for it. Now also started strength workout in gym. For betterment of my health I am taking supradyn multivitamins, evion 600 mg, bicasule B complex, and vitamin C limcee 500 mg chewable tablets. I wanted to know for about what period I should/can take limcee tablets?

BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Bangalore
Start physiotherapy asap, vitamin tablets taken temporarily along with physiotherapy, go for protein rich low carb diet, will help your muscles to not to go for fatigue.
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ECMO New Era of Medicicne

Homeopath,
ECMO New Era of Medicicne

What is ECMO?
Like dialysis for unfunctional kidney, Ecmo for unfunctional lung.

Ecmo stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a method of giving oxygen for the body when icu pateint lungs and/or heart are not able to supply oxygen on their own. 

Why ICU pateint put on ECMO?

Doctors place ICU patients on ECMO when patients are not able to supply oxygen to the body.

ICU patients’ lungs fail for a number of reasons including pneumonia, lung cancer, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and COPD.

 When a patient’s lungs fail, he/she first is intubated (breathing tube) and hooked up to a ventilator (breathing machine).
 However, sometimes lungs are so damaged that providing oxygen through intubation is not enough.

This is when doctors turn to v-v ecmo.
A heart can fail for many reasons including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, bad valve disease, or worsening heart failure. When a heart fails, doctors try to fix the underlying problem. They may also start medications (called ionotropes) to help improve the pump function of the heart. If medications are not enough, doctors will turn to v-a ecmo.

How long can someone stay on ecmo?

That is a complicated question. Due to the risks of ecmo discussed above, doctors try to keep patients on ecmo for as short a time as possible. Often patient will be on ecmo for several days up to 1-2 weeks. Every day, several blood and imaging tests are done to determine if a patient is ready to come off ecmo. As the technology of ecmo improves, hopefully side effects will decrease and patients can remain on ecmo for longer periods of time.

What is the difference between ecmo and a ventilator (breathing machine)?

Both ecmo and a ventilator aim to provide oxygen to the body when the patient’s own lungs and breathing are failing. The ventilator assists the patient’s own lungs by pushing oxygen with pressure into the lungs. Ecmo instead provides oxygen directly via a catheter placed in a patient’s vein or artery. We almost always try oxygenating a patient with a ventilator first. However, when a patient’s lungs are too sick for this, we turn to ecmo to assist in providing oxygen to the body. V-v ecmo provides oxygen through a vein. This blood then has to travel to the heart and be pumped around the rest of the body through arteries. Therefore, with v-v ecmo or with a ventilator, a patient must have a well-functioning heart to get the oxygen pumped throughout the body. V-a ecmo has the additional advantage of pumping blood directly to arteries. This “by-passes” the heart and is therefore the method of ecmo we use when a patient’s heart is failing.

1 person found this helpful

I have had a limbo sacral spine MRI. Conclusion of result is "Mild annular disc bulge with superimposed broad based posterocentral disc protrusion and annular tear at L4-L5 level is causing indentation on thecal sac. No central canal or existing foramina stenosis or nerve root compression" can anybody tell is it worrisome.

MBBS
General Physician, Mumbai
The report is not very worrisome coz there is no nerve compression .But you should be careful ,follow your exercise routine and treatment properly. Do spine extension exercises. Do not lift weights. Take calcium supplements. Take anti-inflamatory medication when needed.
5 people found this helpful
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Breast Cancer Prevention:

Homeopath,

Breast Cancer Prevention:

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  3. 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:

Key points:

  1. 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

  2. Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.

  3. 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.

  4. Enlarge Drawing of female breast anatomy showing the lymph nodes, nipple, areola, chest wall, ribs, muscle, fatty tissue, lobe, ducts, and lobules.

  5. 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.

  6. 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:

  1. Older agea personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast diseasea family history of breast cancerinherited gene changesdense breasts

  2. 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:

  1. Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the bodytaking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy,

  2. Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomyselective estrogen receptor modulatorsaromatase inhibitors and inactivators

  3. Risk-reducing mastectomy ovarian ablationgetting enough exercise


 

It is not clear whether the following affect the risk of breast cancer:

  1. Oral contraceptives

  2. 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:

  1. Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.

  2. A personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast disease

     

Women with any of the following have an increased risk of breast cancer:

  1. 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.

  2. A family history of breast cancer

  3. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. Men who have inherited certain changes in the brca2 gene have a higher risk of breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, and lymphoma.


 

Dense breasts:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in the body

  4. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. Radiation therapy to treat cancer in one breast does not appear to increase the risk of cancer in the other breast.

  3. 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:

Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women who have not used hormone replacement therapy.


 

Drinking alcohol:

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:

  1. Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the body

  2. 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.


 

Risk-reducing mastectomy:

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.


 

Ovarian ablation:

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:

  1. Oral contraceptives

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


 

Environment

  1. Studies have not proven that being exposed to certain substances in the environment, such as chemicals, increases the risk of breast cancer.

  2. Studies have shown that some factors do not affect the risk of breast cancer.


 

The following do not affect the risk of breast cancer:

  1. 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.

  2. Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.

anxiety and depression

My dad was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. But there were no symptoms. They removed half kidney by surgery. Will there be any chances of spreading cancer cells to other body parts or will the cancer be back? What are the precautions to be taken?

DNB (Urology), MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Urologist, Delhi
There’s a 5 percent risk of recurrence approximately Regular blood. Urine tests and follow up ct scans needed.
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Hello, Due to C5 & C6 disc buldge in neck I have severe neck pain. Please tell me a remedy. I have gone under dr treatments, pills & psychotherapy but still have a severe pain

Dip. SICOT (Belgium), MNAMS, DNB (Orthopedics), MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Hi , This is Dr Akshay from Fortis Hospital. Please upload latest x rays and MRI images for me to opine. Thanks & Regards Dr Akshay Kumar Saxena
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Cerebral Ischaemia And Cerebral Congestion - Homoeopathic Treatment For It!

BHMS, VLIR Belgium, Canadian Academy Of Homeopathy
Homeopath, Navi Mumbai
Cerebral Ischaemia And Cerebral Congestion - Homoeopathic Treatment For It!

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. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

8513 people found this helpful

Breast Cancer - Know More to Say 'No' More!

MBBS, DGO, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MRCOG
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Breast Cancer - Know More to Say 'No' More!

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.

  1. A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
  2. Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
  3. Redness of your breast or nipple
  4. Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
  5. Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
  6. Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
  7. One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
  8. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
  3. Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
  4. Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
  4. Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
  5. 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.

  1. Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
  2. Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
  3. Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
  4. 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.

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