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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.
- A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
- Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
- Redness of your breast or nipple
- Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
- Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
- Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
- One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
- 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.
- 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.
- Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
- Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
- Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
- 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.
- Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
- Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
- 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.
I am an advocate and have got sitting job for long hours and walking job too. I am suffer from slip disc. Any treatment?
I am 29 years old. I am from bangladesh. I have a problem with my backbone. I have slipped disc. I have been suffering from this since 2011. I consulted with some local doctors. They prescribed me with some exercise but no improvement till now. I feel that a bone or two is/are displaced somewhere my waist. I need expert suggestion.
Sir I am 25 years old I am suffering L1L2 Disc degeneration I am unable walk speed and left leg jerks please help me.
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
Cancer of the kidneys is amongst the ten most common types of Cancer. There are many types of renal cancer with Renal cell carcinoma being the most common amongst them. Renal cancer is said to be triggered by a genetic mutation but the cause for this mutation is yet unknown. While kidney cancer appears suddenly in some cases, in others it is inherited from the parents. Here are 4 things you should know about cancer of the kidneys.
Along with a mutation of the genes which is beyond our control, some lifestyle factors can also increase a person’s risk of suffering from renal cancer. Some of these factors are:
An early diagnosis can make the treatment of renal cancer much easier than if it is left undiagnosed. Hence, it becomes important to recognise the symptoms of this disease. Common renal cancer symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- A lump on either side of the abdomen
- Persistent pain on one side of the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms are common to a number of other diseases as well and hence if you experience them, it is best to get yourself checked out by a doctor. In order to confirm a diagnosis, your doctor is likely to ask for blood tests, urine tests, an ultrasound and a CT scan or an MRI. In most cases, your doctor will also schedule a biopsy to check for cancer cells in the kidney tissue.
Stages of kidney cancer
Once cancer has been diagnosed, your doctor will need to determine the extent of damage caused in order to find the best form of treatment for the disease. Stages of kidney cancer are determined by the size of the tumour and on how much it has spread from the original location. There are four stages of kidney cancer.
Stage I – When the cancer cells are restricted to the kidneys and the tumour is no bigger than 3” in diameter
Stage II – The tumour has grown bigger in size but is still restricted to the kidney
Stage III – The tumour may be big or small but has spread to at least one lymph node or has affected the blood vessels
Stage IV – The cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs or the tumour has grown through the fatty layer and outer fibrous layer of the kidney.
Kidney cancer can be cured easily if detected in the early stages by removing the tumour and adjacent tissue or the entire kidney if need be. Removing one kidney is not fatal as a person can live a healthy life with a single kidney.
Uterine fibroids are referred to as benign, abnormal growths which tend to develop in the uterine walls of a woman. The size of such growths can range from a few centimeters to even excess of a few inches. As such, they can cause the uterus to increase to the size of a five month pregnancy. Although, the symptoms of fibroids are not always apparent, they often cause heavy bleeding and pain in women. A recent research concluded that around 60 to 75 percent women contract such fibroids by the age of 50, at least once in their life.
Depending on the site of formation, uterine fibroids are distinguished into different types. Intramural fibroids in the lining of the uterus and subserosal fibroids which develop outside the uterus are the most commonly observed fibroids.
What causes Uterine Fibroids?
Although, the exact reason for the formation of fibroids are obscure, medical professionals have determined certain factors that may affect their formation. Some of them are:
1) Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle and trigger the growth of fibroids.
2) Family history: If you have had a family history of uterine fibroids, then you're likely to develop the condition yourself as well.
3) Pregnancy: The production of progesterone and estrogen increases during pregnancy which increases the likelihood of fibroids.
What are the signs of the condition?
Depending on the location and size of the tumors, symptoms of such fibroids include:
1) Heavy bleeding and blood clots during periods
2) Pain in the pelvis
3) Frequent menstrual cramps
4) Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen
5) Swelling in the abdomen
6) Pain while intercourse
What is the procedure of the treatment?
Ultrasound and pelvic MRI are common diagnostic procedures to check for uterine fibroids. After diagnosis, depending on your age, size of the fibroid and your comprehensive health, the doctor would prescribe you with appropriate medications. Only after medications prove futile, doctors opt for minimally invasive surgeries. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
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.
Sir my mom suffering from pain in almost all of the body specially in the backside, headache is there and also some sort of problem in breathing. Her protein is 9.8,albumin is 3.0,globulin 6.8,crp, alp,creatinine, vit D all are normal. Her MRI report says "study revels central & bilateral paracentral disc herniations with annular tear at L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels with thecal compression & bilateral traversing nerve root impingement. Mild retrolisthesis of L4 over L5 vertebral body is noted. There are degenerative osteophytes & disc desiccation as described in the text. Sir please tell me how can I treated her, doctor advice her tab maxgalin and accuvin what is the problems she can relief or not or any serious concern. Please help Sir.
Brain mapping is a technique where the biological quantities of a human brain are represented as spatial quantities resulting in maps. As with many other medical technologies, brain mapping is fast-evolving as well. Among several uses, brain mapping is chiefly used while performing surgery on the brain.
When surgery is to be performed on the brain such as surgery for epilepsy, the surgeon would want to comprehend how the brain areas are affected by seizures. The surgical intervention is meant for removing as much as seizure focus as possible while preserving crucial functions like understanding, speech, vision, movement, and sensation.
Why is brain mapping performed?
Brain mapping is a process which helps in identification of functions of various parts of the brain. Mapping the brain by stimulating different areas of the brain areas can aid in creating a map for a particular person. The map allows the doctor in understanding what parts of the brain are responsible for performing critical functions including sensation, movement, speech and other functions.
Which functions of the brain can be mapped electrically?
Typical areas of the brain which have motor, language, visual and sensory functions are needed to be mapped. When current is applied to a single area at a time, the doctor understands which part of the brain is responsible for which function.
When the patient is not able to speak due to the current, then the area is likely to be crucial for language function. If the limbs, face or trunk of the patient stop moving as the current passes, the area that is tested is responsible for movement. On the other hand, if the individual experiences tingling, numbing, and other sensations when the current is applied, it means that a sensory region is discovered.
How is electrical brain mapping performed?
Electrical brain mapping for guiding brain surgery for epilepsy can be performed in two distinct processes: directly during the surgery or in a two-stage procedure.
In the first stage of the process, the surgeon creates an opening in the skull which helps in exposing the surface of the brain. Small electrical contacts or electrodes are placed on the brain surface even though no brain tissue is removed. As soon as the electrodes are in the right position, the scalp is closed. The electrodes not only record the seizure of the patient electrically but also allow mapping of various areas of the brain. The last stage is surgery where abnormal brain tissues are removed.
Brain mapping process during surgery:
Electrical brain mapping may also be performed during the surgery which exposes part of the brain. This is termed as intraoperative brain mapping since it occurs while performing the main operation. The process of mapping may last for an hour to several hours at a stretch.
Brain mapping is also used to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In these cases, the brain map shows extreme shrinkage of the brain due to tissue loss. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Neurosurgeon.
My wife had breast cancer and she went into remission this February 2017. She was diagnosed around mid November 2014. My wife just turned 39 and had ER PR positive tumor which was destroyed using radiotherapy in New York. As such she has been on Tamoxifen since she was diagnosed but then stopped it as she went into remission. We want to have children and were wondering which will be the best kind of doctor and some recommendations too since this is not a very usual case. Thank you in advance,
Breast cancer, is a type of cancer, which is common to women, where cancer cells grow on the breasts or the female mammary gland. It starts out with the formation of a small lump in your breast and can spread out to your other organs very rapidly. It generally affects women above forty years of age. Breast cancer can be classified into two types. They can either start forming on the inner linings of your milk ducts ( known as Ductal carcinoma) or in the lobules which supply milk (known as Lobular carcinoma).
There are many causes responsible for breast cancer they are mentioned below:
- Obesity or post-menopausal obesity (Learn more about Heart Diseases Post Menopause)
- Exposure to frequent radiation (X-ray)
- Consumption of alcohol
- Being taller than average
- Start of periods at an early age
- Late menopause
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Consumption of birth control pills
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are as follows:
- Formation of a lump in your breast
- Swelling or shrinking of your breast
- Change of size, shape and color of your nipple
- Blood or milk discharge from the nipple
- Breast pain
- Itching sensation
- Appearance of rashes (Learn more about to maintain the skin health)
Breast cancer if not diagnosed and treated at an early stage may turn out to be fatal. Ayurveda offers promising cures for breast cancer.
A few of the Ayurvedic remedies are mentioned below:
- Include foods, which are well supplied with vitamin D in your diet. Researches show that women with less amount of vitamin D in their bodies are more likely to develop breast cancer. Consider including foods like eggs, orange juice, dairy products and fish like salmon in your diet.
- Drink more of green tea as it has anti cancer properties.
- Exercises like walking, yoga, meditation and certain breast exercises can help you to relax the pain sensation, reduce stress and also get cured.
- Incorporate bitter gourd in your diet. Researches show that bitter gourd can kill those cancer cells, which cause breast cancer.
- Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha, tulsi, curcumin have certain properties that can destroy cancer cells.
Since, breast cancer has less survival rates, it is absolutely essential for you to visit an Ayurvedic practitioner if you wish to get cured through Ayurvedic treatment.
1. You felt a lump in your breast and it always means you have breast cancer.
It's a small percentage of breast lumps only that will turn out to be cancer. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, never ignore it. You must see a physician for a clinical breast examination. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.
Take charge of your health by performing routine breast self-exams, establishing ongoing communication and counseling with your doctor, getting an annual clinical breast exam, and scheduling your routine screening mammograms.
2. Only women get breast cancer, men do not.
Quite the contrary, each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. While this percentage is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.
Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less and they are less likely to assume a lump is breast cancer, which can cause a delay in seeking treatment.