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A brain stroke can affect anyone at any point of time when the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted. It can threaten major physical functions and can prove to be fatally dangerous at times. The brain stem which is placed right above the spinal cord controls the breathing, heartbeat and levels of blood pressure. It is also in charge of controlling some elementary functions such as swallowing, hearing, speech and eye movements
What are the different types of strokes?
There are three main kinds of stroke: ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes and transient ischemic attacks. The The most common type of brain stroke is the ischemic stroke is caused by narrowing or blocking of arteries to the brain, which prevents the proper supplyof of blood to the brain. Sometimes it so happens that the blood clot that has formed elsewhere in the body have travelled via the blood vessels and has been trapped in the blood vessel which provides blood to the brain. When the supply of blood to a part of the brain is hindered, the tissue in that area dies off owing to lack of oxygen. The other variant of brain stroke is termed as hemorrhagic stroke is caused when the blood vessels in and around the brain burstor or leak. Strokes need to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible in order to minimize brain damage.
What are the common symptoms of a brain stroke?
The symptoms of the brain stroke are largely dependent on the area of the brain that has been affected. It can interfere with normal functioning, such as breathing and talking and other functions which human beings can perform without thinking such as eye movements or swallowing. Since all the signals from the brain as well as other parts of the body traverse through the brain stem, the interruption of blood flow often leads to numbness or paralysis in different parts of the body.
Who is likely to have a stroke?
Anyone is at a risk of developing brain stroke although ageing is directly proportional to the risk of having a stroke. Not only that an individual with a family history of brain stroke or transient ischemic attack is at a higher risk of developing stroke. People who have aged over 65 accounts for about 33 percent of all brain strokes. It is important to point here that individuals with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol, cancer, autoimmune diseases and some blood disorders are at a higher risk of developing brain stroke.
There are a few factors which can increase the risk of developing stroke beyond any control. But there are certain lifestyle choices as well which aids in controlling the chances of being affected by stroke. It is crucial to refrain from long-term hormone replacement therapies as well as birth control pills, smoking, lack of physical activity, excessive use of alcohol and drug addiction. A brain stroke is a life-threatening medical condition, and when an individual has symptoms that resemble that of stroke, it is crucial to seek immediate medical help.
Treatment for stroke:
- Treatment depends on the type of stroke.
- Ischemic strokes can be treated with 'clot-busting' drugs.
- Hemorrhagic strokes can be treated with surgery to repair or block blood vessel weaknesses.
- The most effective way to prevent strokes is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is TPA?
TPA is a thrombolytic or a “Clot Buster” drug. This clot buster is used to break-up the clot that is causing a blockage or disruption in the flow of blood to the brain and helps restore the blood flow to the area of the brain. It is given by intravenous (IV). This can be given only within 45.5 hrs of the onset of symptoms
Time is brain
Remember Every second Loss means brain cells die.
Rush to the nearest Stroke Centre whenever you experience such symptoms.
You can save the brain cells dying if you reach within 4.5 hrs by the CLOT BUSTER.
Another treatment option is an endovascular procedure called mechanical thrombectomy, strongly recommended, in whichtrained trained doctors try removing a large blood clot bysending sending a wired-caged device called a stent retriever, to the site of the blocked blood vessel in the brain
The good news is that 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. It startswith with managing keyrisk risk factors, including
- High blood pressure,
- Cigarette smoking,
- Diabetes Atrial fibrillation and
- Physical inactivity.
More than half of all strokes are caused by uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure, making it the most important risk factor to control.
The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain skills you lost as the result of a stroke. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a neurologist. Homoeopathic Remedies which may be helpful during stroke or after stroke: Creategus, Terminalia Arjuna, Arnica, Glonoine, Glycyrrhiza Glabra, Lachesis, Opium, Staphysagria, Gelsemium, Phosphorous etc.
Note : Do not take any Homoeopathic medicine without consulting any Homoeopath.
Did you know barley water is good for kidney stones?
Barley (jau), a member of grass family, is a cereal that has been cultivated for over 13, 000 years. Packed with carbohydrates (78%), fat (1%), protein (10%) and water (10%), barley is a rich source of essential nutrients, dietary fiber, vitamins such as niacin, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
With several health benefits to its name, barley water is termed as the elixir to good health. It has been found to be beneficial in reducing chances of heart disease, soothing bowels, reducing blood cholesterol levels, improving blood sugar regulation in the body and acts as nutritive broth for fever, cold and cough. Additionally, studies support that barley water has also been found to play an integral role in maintaining renal health.
What is a renal stone?
A renal stone is a solid stony piece consisting of crystal forming substances in the urinary tract. They are usually formed when the urine is abundant in substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid and lack substances that inhibit their accumulation. While small kidney stones can pass through the urinary system without any symptoms, a stone larger than 5 mm can result in blockages in the urinary tract causing severe pain in the back and lower abdomen.
What causes renal stones?
- A family history for stones, lack of adequate water in the body, high BMI, excessive intake of diets rich in protein, sodium and sugar have been found to be some of the common causes for stone formation.
Try protein foods &amp; supplements
- Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel syndrome and renal tubular acidosis have also been found to alter the digestion of calcium.
How does barley water aid the dissolution of renal stones?
Studies show that regular use of barley water can dissolve and eliminate existing kidney stones and prevent the occurrence of stones and other kidney problems. Use of diuretics either natural or synthetic can help speed up the expulsion of the stone.
Diuretic in nature, barley water helps to flush toxins from the kidneys by creating bladder pressure and increasing the frequency of urination.
- It helps maintain the PH levels in the body, making it alkaline, preventing various urinary tract issues, including kidney stones.
- The vitamin B6 and magnesium in barley helps break down the masses of toxic calcium oxalate (primary cause for stones) in the kidney.
Dietary fiber in barley reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted by the body through urine, restoring renal health and cleansing the kidneys.
Ways to prepare barley water:
- Boil 1 litre of water with a tablespoon of barley pearls and boil on a low flame for about 30 minutes or until the water has reduced to half.
- Strain and cool this mix and drink it through the day.
- Add lemon juice or honey to make the mix tasty
Regular use of barley water ensures that the renal system is hydrated, healthy and free of depositions such as renal stones. So, go ahead and add this elixir to your diet to ensure a healthy renal system and a healthier you. Eat healthy, stay healthy!
What is Bone cancer?
Bone cancer is malignant tumour of the bones which can spread to lungs or other parts of the body. It may have arisen primarily from the bone itself (primary bone cancer) or more commonly, may have spread to the bones (secondary bone cancer) from cancer of some other body organ like Breast cancer, Prostate cancer etc.
Primary bone cancer usually occurs in growing children and young adolescents, whereas, secondary bone cancer usually occurs in older age group. Usually, the patient experiences pain in the affected area, which over the time, gets worse and continuous. There may also be swelling in the involved region. It can cause weakening of bones resulting in fracture. Some patients may attribute these symptoms to any prior antecedent trauma. Unintentional weight loss may also be seen. Sometimes, these patients are wrongly being treated for infection, thus delaying the correct treatment which may have a bearing on the final outcome.
How common is bone cancer?
Secondary bone cancer is the most common type of bone cancer with bone being the third most common site of cancer spread (metastasis) from other organs. However, primary bone cancers are rare accounting for less than 1% of all cancers.
Causes of bone cancer?
There are no known environmental or other hereditary factors which cause bone cancer, however, certain patients are at a greater risk for bone cancer which include:
- Patients who have received prior radiation therapy
- Patients with a history of Paget’s Disease
- Patients with hereditary retinoblastoma - a type of eye cancer that most commonly affects very young children
- Patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome - a rare genetic condition
How is it diagnosed?
A patient suspected with bone cancer needs to be investigated thoroughly with blood tests, Xrays, MRI to look for local extent of disease. Since bone cancer can spread to lungs and other bones, staging of the disease is done either with whole body PET CT or a bone scan with CT Chest. Alongwith that, a biopsy (usually with a needle) is required to establish the diagnosis. It’s important to do biopsy from the correct site since wrong biopsy site can be detrimental in limb salvage and can result in amputation (cutting the limb). Therefore, it’s recommended that the biopsy should always be done by the surgeon (Orthopaedic Oncologist) who will be doing the final surgery for bone cancer.
Treatment of bone cancer is a multidisciplinary approach requiring an Orthopaedic Oncologist (Bone & Soft tissue tumour specialist), Medical Oncologist (Chemotherapy Specialist), Radiation Oncologist (Radiotherapy specialist) and Pathologist (Specialist in tissue diagnosis).
Usually in primary bone cancers, chemotherapy is given to the patient followed by surgery to remove the diseased bone which is further followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. Limb salvage surgery is possible nowadays for bone cancers in which the part of the bone involved with tumour is removed surgically (rather than cutting the whole limb) and the defect is reconstructed with artificial joint, thereby saving the limb. In some cases, the cancerous bone so removed is given very high dose of radiation so as to kill all the cancer cells and the sterilised bone so formed is fixed back to the parent bone with the help of plates and screws, a technique commonly called as Extra Corporeal Radiation Therapy (ECRT). In children, since the artificial joint will not grow as the child grows leading to unequal limb lengths over a period of time, the defect can be reconstructed with expandable joint which can be lengthened as the child grows which allows to maintain limb length equality at the time of skeletal maturity.
Is cure possible in bone cancer?
With the current chemotherapy regimes and advanced surgical technology, cure is possible in upto 70-75% patients with primary bone cancer. In patients with secondary bone cancer, cure can still be achieved depending upon the primary cancer and the extent of disease. In advanced cases also, a lot can be done to control the disease and give a quality of life to the patient.
Is it possible to prevent bone cancer?
Since the exact cause of bone cancer is not known, as of now it’s not possible to prevent bone cancer.
Whom to consult?
First chance is the best chance when it comes to curing bone cancers. So, it’s advisable to seek treatment from a trained Orthopaedic Oncologist when confronted with a bone cancer to achieve maximum beneficial outcome.
Cancer that originates in the bones of a human body is referred to as bone cancer. Any bone could come under the threat of this disease, but generally the longer bones of your body, so to say the bones of your limbs, are at a greater risk.
A few factors that might push you an inch closer to bone cancer are:
- Genes could jinx your health: A few typical genetic syndromes could increase a person's chances of contracting bone cancer. These syndromes could have been active in any person belonging to your lineage. One such syndrome is Li-Fraumeni.
- Treatment for one kind of cancer can make you prone to some other kind: Radiation affects your bones adversely. A patient of breast cancer might be undergoing radiation therapy that further increases his or her risk of contracting bone cancer in future.
- Paget's disease can have unfavorable implications: Paget's disease is a disease that affects elderly people. This condition, if left untreated, can turn into bone cancer at a later stage.
Several symptoms of bone cancer can be found below:
- Sudden loss of weight: If you lose a considerable amount of weight in a few weeks time without having made any effort at all, you should probably be worried about the health of your bones. Bone cancer can result in sudden and unintentional weight loss.
- Unexpected bone fracture or breakage: Cancer of the bones is known to gnaw at the strength of your bones. Weakened and diseased bones can break or get fractured very easily. An unexpected fracture should not be overlooked so as to prevent chances of anything more harmful.
- Long spans of unyielding exhaustion: Constant fatigue and sleepiness might be hinting at a more serious underlying problem. The bones in your body hold you together; cancerous bone cells can make you feel exhausted without much exertion as your bones lose their inherent potency.
- Persistent pain in the bones: Excruciating cramps or pangs of stinging pain in a person's bones either continuously or at odd hours, could be indicative of bone cancer. Such instances require the advice and guidance of an experienced oncologist.
- Bone swelling: The area affected by bone cancer can grow big and tender or the bone itself can swell up.
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 a student and suffering from lumbar disc herniation since last two years or more treatments are being done but there have been no proper result but severe development in sciatic pain, numbness and feeling some effect on other leg also. And please suggest me some solution for this herniation.
Breast cancer is on the rise in india. Surveys show that every 4 out of 5 Indian women who have breast cancer, suffer from an advanced stage of the disease by the time they reach the doctor. Urban women are at two times more risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than rural women. Being overweight, eating unhealthy food, and consuming excessive alcohol or tobacco are some of causes that can make you susceptible to this disease.
How you can avoid breast cancer?
- Every woman should do a self-breast examination every month after the periods. You should check for any abnormal lump, change in skin texture or any abnormal discharge from the nipples. Any abnormality above aspects should be promptly investigated by a doctor's appointment, and an ultrasound or Mammography, as required.
- Apart from self-examining your breasts every month for a lump, going for a mammography (an X-Ray of the breast) is vital for early detection of the problem.
- Consult a gynaecologist before going for the test as its frequency depends on your age and risk factor. About 80-90% of tumours can be traced through this screening.
Breast cancer may run in family. If there is no family history of breast cancer, you start doing mammogram at 40 yrs of age but if there is a family history you start even earlier as advised by your gynaecologist.
A mammogram is an imaging test where an X-ray is taken to recreate the internal imagery of your breasts. This is a screening test that is widely used to find the earliest signs of cancer. There have been instances where the early signs of cancer have been found up to three years before the actual development of the same. There are a number of benefits and risks in this screening method. So let us find out more about getting a mammogram, and whether or not you should get one.
- Procedure: A special X-ray machine is used for conducting a mammogram. There is a clear plastic plate on which the specialist will place the breast while another plate will press on the breast from above. While both the plates serve to flatten the breast and hold it still, the X-ray will be taken. Some pressure will be felt and the same steps will be repeated so as to get the side view of the breasts. The same procedure will be repeated for the other breast. Meanwhile, once it is done, you will need to wait so that the technician can check for clarity, and whether or not the procedure needs to be done again. The results of this procedure cannot be relayed by the technician, and all the images will be different because all breasts are slightly different from each other.
- Preparation: You will need to remember that the process can be a slightly painful one, especially once the pressure gets applied. Many women complain of discomfort and pain. Yet, this discomfort gets over before you know it. The pressure and pain will depend on the size of your breasts and how much they will have to be pressed in order to get a picture. The skill of the technician will also come into play here. One must remember not to get this procedure done a week or so before or after the menstrual cycle, as the breasts tend to be tender around this time, and the pain will be much more.
- Radiologist: Within a few weeks after the procedure, the radiologist will usually deliver the result. This is the professional who does an accurate reading of the X-ray.
- Normal and Abnormal Readings: If your mammogram result has a normal reading, then you can resort to getting one done every once in a while. But an abnormal reading will require further X-ray and tests so as to be able to tell for sure.
- Why should I get one: If you are over 40 and have a family history of such ailments, then you will have to get a mammogram done regularly. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
I have noticed that the space between c5 and c6 of my spine have increased and as a result my neck and shoulder are very painful. I have also little tmj. What will I do now? Please Please help me.
I am 39 years my weight is 95 kg, my height is 5.4, I have ligament tear in my right knee, I have slip disc in l4, l5, high bp. Etc, please suggest how to loose weight. Rapidly fast if any medicine that can help to reduce the weight.
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.
Hello sir. I have lower back pain since 2 months back. I have done mri there is disk problem. What is permanent solution is surgery kindly help me.
The symptoms caused due to herniated disc can be very severe and can also cause a bit of disability. The disc of the spine is like a cushion and separates the set of bones on the backside. The discs are shock absorbers of the spine and are mainly composed of 2 parts, a soft jelly centre called the nucleus and a tough outer covering called the annulus.
Effects of Herniated Disk
A herniated or cracked disc is a severe condition and it seems to happen most commonly in the lower back. It happens when a fraction of the soft centre gets pushed through the destabilized area due to degeneration, trauma or by putting pressure on the spinal cord.
Nerves are located precisely at the back of every disc and are responsible for controlling everything in our body. While a disc gets herniated, the external covering of the disc tears and creates a bulge. The soft jelly gets shifted from the centre of the disk to the region where the damage has occurred on the disc. Most commonly, the bulge occurs in areas where the nerve is located and it causes strain on the affected nerve. It has been observed that individuals do not feel any painful sensations even if their disc gets damaged.
When is Surgery Recommended for Herniated Disc?
Surgery for herniated disc is recommended only after options like steroid injections, pain relievers, exercise and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs do not work. If the pain persists even after these options, then it becomes important to go for surgery. There are certain risks involved in this surgery like infection, bleeding or nerve damage.
There are chances that the disc may get ruptured again if it is not removed. If you are a patient suffering from degenerative disc disease, then there are chances that problem occurs in other discs. It is very important that a patient maintains healthy weight to prevent any further complications.
The main factor that increases the risk of herniated disc is excess body weight, which causes a lot of stress on the lower back. A few people become heir to a tendency of developing this condition. Even individuals with physically demanding jobs are prone to this condition.
Activities like bending sideways, pushing, twisting, repetitive lifting can increase the risk of a herniated disk. At times, emergency surgery is also required to avoid paralysis in a patient. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an orthopedist.
What are the alternatives to avoid surgery for my brother aged 47 identified with Listhesis with foot drop and disc extrusion. In fact I had disc bulge (L3 L4 L5) at the age of 41 in 2013 and took oil massage in Kerala for 15 days and I am doing good now.
My age is 22 I have slip disk my disk dislocated into 6 mm back so I have heavy pain when I bend or doing any work and long time sitting any home remedies to cure fast.
I am 43 years old and I have taken scan and in my report there is a small fibre on the both wall of the uterus, can you please tell me whether it is danger or not.
Sir I have slip disk problem in l4 l5 Vert disk and pain in lower spine and pain goes to leg randomly both legs. This is from last 6 months What is easiest way to solve this problem.
Breast Cancer Prevention:
Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective factor.
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot. For example, both smoking and inheriting certain genes are risk factors for some types of cancer, but only smoking can be avoided. Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk but it does not mean that you will not get cancer. Different ways to prevent cancer are being studied, including:
Changing lifestyle or eating habits. Avoiding things known to cause cancer. Taking medicine to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting.
General information about breast cancer:
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in india
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes, which have many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are linked by thin tubes called ducts.
Enlarge Drawing of female breast anatomy showing the lymph nodes, nipple, areola, chest wall, ribs, muscle, fatty tissue, lobe, ducts, and lobules.
Anatomy of the female breast. The nipple and areola are shown on the outside of the breast. The lymph nodes, lobes, lobules, ducts, and other parts of the inside of the breast are also shown.
Each breast also has blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels carry an almost colorless fluid called lymph. Lymph vessels lead to organs called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease. Clusters of lymph nodes are found near the breast in the axilla (under the arm), above the collarbone, and in the chest.
Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent cancer. The following are risk factors for breast cancer:
Older agea personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast diseasea family history of breast cancerinherited gene changesdense breasts
Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in the bodytaking hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause radiation therapy
The following are protective factors for breast cancer:
Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the bodytaking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy,
Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomyselective estrogen receptor modulatorsaromatase inhibitors and inactivators
Risk-reducing mastectomy ovarian ablationgetting enough exercise
It is not clear whether the following affect the risk of breast cancer:
Factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk
Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.
A personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancer) breast disease
Women with any of the following have an increased risk of breast cancer:
A personal history of invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (dcis), or lobular carcinoma in situ (lcis). A personal history of benign (noncancer) breast disease.
A family history of breast cancer
Women with a family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Inherited gene changes:
Women who have inherited changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes or in certain other genes have a higher risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and maybe colon cancer. The risk of breast cancer caused by inherited gene changes depends on the type of gene mutation, family history of cancer, and other factors.
Men who have inherited certain changes in the brca2 gene have a higher risk of breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers, and lymphoma.
Having breast tissue that is dense on a mammogram is a factor in breast cancer risk. The level of risk depends on how dense the breast tissue is. Women with very dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with low breast density.
Increased breast density is often an inherited trait, but it may also occur in women who have not had children, have a first pregnancy late in life, take postmenopausal hormones, or drink alcohol.
Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made in the body
Estrogen is a hormone made by the body. It helps the body develop and maintain female sex characteristics. Being exposed to estrogen over a long time may increase the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen levels are highest during the years a woman is menstruating.
A woman's exposure to estrogen is increased in the following ways:
Early menstruation: beginning to have menstrual periods at age 11 or younger increases the number of years the breast tissue is exposed to estrogen. Starting menopause at a later age: the more years a woman menstruates, the longer her breast tissue is exposed to estrogen. Older age at first birth or never having given birth: because estrogen levels are lower during pregnancy, breast tissue is exposed to more estrogen in women who become pregnant for the first time after age 35 or who never become pregnant.
Taking hormone therapy for symptoms of menopause:
Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can be made into a pill form in a laboratory. Estrogen, progestin, or both may be given to replace the estrogen no longer made by the ovaries in postmenopausal women or women who have had their ovaries removed. This is called hormone replacement therapy (hrt) or hormone therapy (ht). Combination hrt/ht is estrogen combined with progestin. This type of hrt/ht increases the risk of breast cancer. Studies show that when women stop taking estrogen combined with progestin, the risk of breast cancer decreases.
Radiation therapy to the breast or chest:
Radiation therapy to the chest for the treatment of cancer increases the risk of breast cancer, starting 10 years after treatment. The risk of breast cancer depends on the dose of radiation and the age at which it is given. The risk is highest if radiation treatment was used during puberty, when breasts are forming.
Radiation therapy to treat cancer in one breast does not appear to increase the risk of cancer in the other breast.
For women who have inherited changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes, exposure to radiation, such as that from chest x-rays, may further increase the risk of breast cancer, especially in women who were x-rayed before 20 years of age.
Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women who have not used hormone replacement therapy.
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. The level of risk rises as the amount of alcohol consumed rises.
The following are protective factors for breast cancer:
Less exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the body
Decreasing the length of time a woman's breast tissue is exposed to estrogen may help prevent breast cancer. Exposure to estrogen is reduced in the following ways:
Early pregnancy: estrogen levels are lower during pregnancy. Women who have a full-term pregnancy before age 20 have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who have not had children or who give birth to their first child after age 35. Breast-feeding: estrogen levels may remain lower while a woman is breast-feeding. Women who breastfed have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who have had children but did not breastfeed.
Taking estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or aromatase inhibitors and inactivators
Estrogen-only hormone therapy after hysterectomy
Hormone therapy with estrogen only may be given to women who have had a hysterectomy. In these women, estrogen-only therapy after menopause may decrease the risk of breast cancer. There is an increased risk of stroke and heart and blood vessel disease in postmenopausal women who take estrogen after a hysterectomy.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators:
Tamoxifen and raloxifene belong to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (serms). Serms act like estrogen on some tissues in the body, but block the effect of estrogen on other tissues.
Treatment with tamoxifen lowers the risk of estrogen receptor-positive (er-positive) breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ in premenopausal and postmenopausal women at high risk. Treatment with raloxifene also lowers the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. With either drug, the reduced risk lasts for several years or longer after treatment is stopped. Lower rates of broken bones have been noted in patients taking raloxifene.
Taking tamoxifen increases the risk of hot flashes, endometrial cancer, stroke, cataracts, and blood clots (especially in the lungs and legs). The risk of having these problems increases with age. Women younger than 50 years who have a high risk of breast cancer may benefit the most from taking tamoxifen. The risk of having these problems decreases after tamoxifen is stopped.
Taking raloxifene increases the risk of blood clots in the lungs and legs, but does not appear to increase the risk of endometrial cancer. In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (decreased bone density), raloxifene lowers the risk of breast cancer for women who have a high or low risk of breast cancer. It is not known if raloxifene would have the same effect in women who do not have osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking this drug.
Aromatase inhibitors and inactivators:
Aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole) and inactivators (exemestane) lower the risk of a new breast cancer in women who have a history of breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors also decrease the risk of breast cancer in women with the following conditions:
Postmenopausal women with a personal history of breast cancer. Women with no personal history of breast cancer who are 60 years and older, have a history of ductal carcinoma in situ with mastectomy, or have a high risk of breast cancer based on the gail model tool (a tool used to estimate the risk of breast cancer).
In women with an increased risk of breast cancer, taking aromatase inhibitors decreases the amount of estrogen made by the body. Before menopause, estrogen is made by the ovaries and other tissues in a woman's body, including the brain, fat tissue, and skin. After menopause, the ovaries stop making estrogen, but the other tissues do not. Aromatase inhibitors block the action of an enzyme called aromatase, which is used to make all of the body's estrogen. Aromatase inactivators stop the enzyme from working.
Possible harms from taking aromatase inhibitors include muscle and joint pain, osteoporosis, hot flashes, and feeling very tired.
Some women who have a high risk of breast cancer may choose to have a risk-reducing mastectomy (the removal of both breasts when there are no signs of cancer). The risk of breast cancer is much lower in these women and most feel less anxious about their risk of breast cancer. However, it is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling about the different ways to prevent breast cancer before making this decision.
The ovaries make most of the estrogen that is made by the body. Treatments that stop or lower the amount of estrogen made by the ovaries include surgery to remove the ovaries, radiation therapy, or taking certain drugs. This is called ovarian ablation.
Premenopausal women who have a high risk of breast cancer due to certain changes in the brca1 and brca2 genes may choose to have a risk-reducing oophorectomy (the removal of both ovaries when there are no signs of cancer). This decreases the amount of estrogen made by the body and lowers the risk of breast cancer. Risk-reducing oophorectomy also lowers the risk of breast cancer in normal premenopausal women and in women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to radiation to the chest. However, it is very important to have a cancer risk assessment and counseling before making this decision. The sudden drop in estrogen levels may cause the symptoms of menopause to begin. These include hot flashes, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression. Long-term effects include decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness, and decreased bone density.
Getting enough exercise:
Women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer. The effect of exercise on breast cancer risk may be greatest in premenopausal women who have normal or low body weight.
It is not clear whether the following affect the risk of breast cancer:
Certain oral contraceptives contain estrogen. Some studies have shown that taking oral contraceptives (" the pill") may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer in current users. This risk decreases over time. Other studies have not shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women who take oral contraceptives.
Progestin -only contraceptives that are injected or implanted do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer. More studies are needed to know whether progestin-only oral contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have not proven that being exposed to certain substances in the environment, such as chemicals, increases the risk of breast cancer.
Studies have shown that some factors do not affect the risk of breast cancer.
The following do not affect the risk of breast cancer:
Having an abortion. Making diet changes such as eating less fat or more fruits and vegetables. Taking vitamins, including fenretinide (a type of vitamin a). Cigarette smoking, both active and passive (inhaling secondhand smoke). Using underarm deodorant or antiperspirant. Taking statins (cholesterol -lowering drugs). Taking bisphosphonates (drugs used to treat osteoporosis and hypercalcemia) by mouth or by intravenous infusion.
Cancer prevention clinical trials are used to study ways to prevent cancer.