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Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the screening and diagnosis and advances in the treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths steadily has been declining, which is largely due to a number of factors such as earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.
Causes--it's not clear what causes breast cancer.
- Doctors know that breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin growing abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. The cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body.
- Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma). Breast cancer may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.
- Researchers have identified hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer. But it's not clear why some people who have no risk factors develop cancer, yet other people with risk factors never do. It's likely that breast cancer is caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.
Inherited breast cancer
- Doctors estimate that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family.
- A number of inherited mutated genes that can increase the likelihood of breast cancer have been identified. The most common are breast cancer gene 1 (brca1) and breast cancer gene 2 (brca2), both of which significantly increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or other cancers, your doctor may recommend a blood test to help identify specific mutations in brca or other genes that are being passed through your family.
- Consider asking your doctor for a referral to a genetic counselor, who can review your family health history. A genetic counselor can also discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing with you and guide you on appropriate genetic testing.
Symptoms--signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:
- A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue
- Change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast
- Changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling
- A newly inverted nipple
- Peeling, scaling or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin
- Redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange
Risk factors-a breast cancer risk factor is anything that makes it more likely you'll get breast cancer. But having one or even several breast cancer risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop breast cancer. Many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors other than simply being women.
Factors that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:
- Being female.Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
- Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
- A personal history of breast cancer. If you've had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
- A family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. Still, the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
- Inherited genes that increase cancer risk. Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer can be passed from parents to children. The most common gene mutations are referred to as brca1 and brca2. These genes can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer and other cancers, but they don't make cancer inevitable.
- Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
- Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
- Beginning menopause at an older age. If you began menopause at an older age, you're more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Having never been pregnant. Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.
- Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
Homoeopathy today is a rapidly growing system and is being practiced all over the world. Its strength lies in its evident effectiveness as it takes a holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels. When breast cancer is concerned there are many effective medicines are available in homoeopathy, but the selection depends upon the individuality of the patient, considering the mental and physical symptoms.
- Phytolacca decandra 200- phytolacca dec is an excellent remedy for breast cancer where the breast is hard, painful and of purple hue. Hard nodes in breast with enlarged axillary glands. Nipples cracked, very sensitive and inverted. Bloody watery discharge from breasts.
- Conium maculatum 3c- conium maculatum is also effective for breast cancer with hard tumor. Hard tumors in breasts with stitches or piercing pain. Stitches in breasts and nipples, on taking deep breath or walking. Conium mac is suitable to old maids and bachelors.
- Carcinosin 30- start treatment with this remedy.
- Htdrastis canadensis 3c-hydrastis canadensis is another excellent remedy for breast cancer with pains like knives thrust into part. With cancer the nipples retracted. The glands in the axilla enlarged and painful. Cachectic appearance – excessive emaciation and weakness along with breast cancer.
- Asterias rubens 3c- asterias rubens is effective for breast cancer even in ulcerative stage. There is acute sharp pain. Nodes and induration of breast gland, dull, aching neuralgic pain in this region. Breasts swell, especially left and nipple retracted. Left breast feels as if pulled inward and pain extends over inner arm to end of little finger. Numbness of hands and fingers of left side.
- Arsenicum album 200-arsenic alb is effective in aggressive open ulcer with offensive discharge. Ulcers with burning, cutting pain and bloody offensive discharge. There is great anguish and restlessness. The person thinks it is useless to take medicine, fear of death and disease.
- Antimonium crudum 200- antimonium crudum is also effective for open ulcer with offensive discharge. There is burning and itching worse at night. Digestion of the patient is easily disordered in antimonium crude.
- Psorinum 200- psorinum is effective for breast cancer with open ulcers. Offensive discharge from the ulcer. The breast is swollen with red nipples. Burning and itching around nipples.
- Thuja occidentalis 3c- thuja occidentalis is best for breast cancer with retracted nipples.
- Malandrinum cm- malandrinum is effective to remove cancerous deposits and remission of primary cancer and shrinkage of mass.
Detecting a lump on your breasts can be stressful for any women. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer and is said to affect primarily affect women though 1% of breast cancer cases affect men. Breast cancer can be categorized into different types based on their capability to affect surrounding tissues.
The most common amongst these are:
- Ductal carcinoma in situ
- Invasive ductal carcinoma
- Invasive lobular carcinoma
Breast cancer is caused by mutations of a person’s DNA cells. This could be inherited from one’s parents or acquired by an unhealthy lifestyle. These DNA mutations cause cells in the breast tissue to multiply rapidly and turn cancerous. The risk factors for breast cancer can be categorized as modifiable and non-modifiable.
Modifiable risk factors:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause
- Lack of exercise
Non-modifiable risk factors:
- Family Medical History
- Personal Medical History
- Atypical hyperplasia
- Early start of menstruation cycle
- Presence of dense breast tissue
- Inherited genetic mutations
As with any other type of cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In its early stages, breast cancer is not painful and has negligible symptoms. In most cases, it is detected only by finding a lump on the breast or through a mammography. This lump may also be present in the armpit or above the collar bone. Some of the other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Nipple inversion
- Discharge from the nipples
- Changes in the colour and texture of skin covering the breast
Breast cancer has five stages beginning from 0 and going up to 4. This is based on the size of the tumour, involvement of lymph nodes and whether or not metastasis has occurred.
- Stage 0: At this stage, the tumour does not affect the lymph nodes and has not metastasized. Thus at this stage, it is noninvasive.
- Stage I: In this case the tumour is smaller than 2 cm in diameter and has not spread to any of the surrounding tissues.
- Stage II: In this stage, the cancerous tumours are still fairly small in size but also affect the surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage III: These tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter and involve the lymph nodes to a greater extent.
- Stage IV: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the most preferred form of treatment for breast cancer. This may be combined with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy depending on the stage and type of cancer, the patient's overall health, age and personal preferences.