Articles on breast cancer awareness

How Is National Breast Cancer Month Making a Difference?

Ms. Samara Mahindra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
National Breast cancer awareness month is celebrated to increase the awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. It makes people more determined to fight cancer and becomes a platform for sharing experiences by finding a community of like-minded people.Health experts have found an increase in breast cancer among younger women. It can be frightening, shocking and a painful experience for most and taking the right precautions are mandatory.It’s time to be on your toes for a mammogram!Following precautionary measures i.e, taking a self breast examination every month and undergoing a mammogram post the age of fifty is essential. Doing this will most probably detect the presence of cancer in early stages and therefore survival rates can increase tremendously.Dismal state of breast cancer screenings in IndiaA WHO Study claims that most women around the world suffer from breast cancer predominantly and majority of such cases in developing countries, get detected in advanced stages.India has a long way in terms of spreading awareness. Even though most of the state government medical colleges are offering free breast cancer screening in urban and rural areas, the number of women showing up at hospitals for these tests are very low. Reasons for a low response is lack of awareness about health and cancer along with the discretion or shyness associated with sexuality.On the other hand…It’s a proud fact that the Indian government has come up with a cancer prevention programme, making screening of oral, cervix and breast cancer for male and female above the age of 30 mandatory.Social organisations like non-governmental organisations, self-help groups and other organisations working at the ground level are trying to focus their efforts to bring success to such campaigns.Sharing your storyThere are breast cancer survivors who are now stepping out and sharing their experiences with the rest of the world. They are encouraging other women to step out and take the right measures in protecting themselves and providing hope to those who have already been through the illness. Such as CARER Program Breast Cancer survivor Shobha Moorjani says,“I can say with absolute confidence that right after my chemotherapy, with the CARER Program I bounced back and fought cancer so bravely that it didn’t affect me that I ever had that disease. I have cleared my first test completely.”Listen to the heart-warming story of Shobha Moorjani at Here.Spread the knowledgeSo if you are going through breast cancer or are a survivor or know someone who has then it’s your month people, spread the knowledge. Here are some ways…Host a cancer survivor partySpeak to your community, school or even your family and friends about screeningRun a marathonAnd for women who are already doing this Thumbs up!

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every Lump Felt Is Not Cancer.

Dr. Neelam Nath Bhatia, General Physician
A nodule detected by self examination is cause of concern for the woman and she Must go to the doctor immediately. Remember a nodule need not be cancer,it can be collection of hardened fibers and nodule is called Fibroadenoma.It is treatable by a medical professional, a surgeon after ruling out cancer by doing few simple tests.It can last for years or be lifelong in women who are not aware about Cancer. It is common in women during reproductive years as reproductive hormones have a role in causing it.It is more common in women on pills or suffering from PCOD.On examination, it can be of as little as size of pea or larger. It moves like a mouse,feels like rubber, is well defined, is painless,rarely leads to Cancer but basic investigations are a Must.Fibroadenoma is very common Benign ( harmless) breast condition...simple fibroadenomas do Not increase the risk of developing breast cancer in future.How to Rule out Cancer?99% fibroadenomas are Not cancer but do get checked by doctor, so as to avoid being rare 1%.Self examination / check up in a preventive Cancer Camp has detected a lump .Doctor will suggest a Mammography test + Biopsy of the tissue.Mammography test carries a Radiation risk equivalent to taking about 10 plain X rays of chest, one after another. It is Not practical to monitor the tumor every year.This test besides being expensive has its own risks and limitations.Ultrasound test is a better choice and is equally Accurate & correct.If ultrasound test does reveal a tiny lump, easily moving, not attached to any tissue, go for removal of lump under local anesthesia as an OPD procedure.The lump can be sent for a biopsy test to clear away any doubts.Woman is told to come back in case she feels a lump at any other site in future Or routine ultrasounds of breast tissue can be carried out as an annual check up.There is No Need to Give Chemotherapy/ Radiotherapy.A course of Antibiotics is all she needs after this Minor 'Surgery' on breast.Why do fibers collect in breast causing Fibroadenomas or in fibers collect in and around muscles of Uterus causing Fibroids? Okay why do people get Cataracts?There are No Answers yet.

A Few Points About Breast Cancer

Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Ayurveda
Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. There are numerous types of breast cancer, but cancer that begins in the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) is the most common type.After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women.Public support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased and the number of deaths has been declining, thanks to a number of factors such as earlier detection, new treatments and a better understanding of the disease.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. The accumulating cells form a tumor that 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. Doctors call this type of breast cancer invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer may also begin in the milk glands known as lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) within the breast.Researchers have identified things that can 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 only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to gene mutations passed through generations of a family. A number of inherited defective 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 increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or other cancers, blood tests may help identify defective 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. It's important to remember that the genetic tests help to identify a high-risk individual or family, but they don't definitively predict who will or will not get breast cancer.Risk factorsA risk factor is anything that makes it more likely you'll get a particular disease. But having one or even several risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop 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. Women older than 55 have a greater risk than do younger women.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 you have a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, you have a greater chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. 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, you're more likely to develop breast cancer later in life.Obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer because fat tissue produces estrogen that may help fuel certain cancers.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 after age 55, 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 35 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.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.Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Experts recommend no more than one alcoholic beverage a day for women.Other risk factors that have been suggested, but don't play any role in the development of breast cancer include tightfitting bras, antiperspirants, breast implants and shift work.Chemotherapy Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. If your cancer has a high chance of returning or spreading to another part of your body, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to decrease the chance that the cancer will recur. This is known as adjuvant systemic chemotherapy.Chemotherapy is sometimes given before surgery in women with larger breast tumors. Doctors call this neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The goal is to shrink a tumor to a size that makes it easier to remove with surgery. This may also increase the chance of a cure. Research is ongoing into neoadjuvant chemotherapy to determine who may benefit from this treatment.Chemotherapy is also used in women whose cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy may be recommended to try to control the cancer and decrease any symptoms the cancer is causing.Chemotherapy side effects depend on the drugs you receive. Common side effects include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and a small increased risk of developing infection.Hormone therapy Hormone therapy — perhaps more properly termed hormone-blocking therapy — is often used to treat breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. Doctors sometimes refer to these cancers as estrogen receptor positive (ER positive) and progesterone receptor positive (PR positive) cancers.Hormone therapy can be used after surgery or other treatments to decrease the chance of your cancer returning. If the cancer has already spread, hormone therapy may shrink and control it.

How to Be on a Lookout for Breast Cancer

Dr. Jyotsna Gupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
Breast cancer is currently the most common cancer detected in Indian women. It is also the leading cause of cancer deaths in women all over the world. Lack of awareness and screening combined with diagnosis in advanced stages accounts to loss of life due to this disease which is treatable when caught in early stages.1. The risk factorsBeing a women and increasing age are most likely risk factors. Other known risk factors are Previously diagnosed Cancer in the same or other breast Family history of breast cancer(close relatives with breast cancer) Early onset of menstrual period (before age 12) Late menopause (after age 55) Not having children & having first child after age 30 Long term use of Hormone replacement therapy Obesity (overweight, particularly after menopause)2. Screening test· Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk· Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40 3. Abnormal signs See a doctor if you notice any of these breast changes:· Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area· Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast· Change in the size or shape of the breast· Dimpling or puckering of the skin· Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple· Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast· Nipple discharge that starts suddenly· New pain in one spot that doesn't go away 4. How to reduce risk Make healthy lifestyle choices Everyone should aim to:Be physically active, so do  regular exercise.Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.Limit "bad" fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.Eat"good" fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.Limit alcohol intake to less than one drink a day for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men.Limit menopausal hormone useBreastfeed, if you can

8 Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

Dr. Devendra Singh, Homeopath
1. Keep Weight in CheckIt’s easy to tune out because it gets said so often, but maintaining a healthy weight is an important goal for everyone. Being overweight can increase the risk of many different cancers, including breast cancer, especially after menopause.2. Be Physically ActiveExercise is as close to a silver bullet for good health as there is, and women who are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to help keep weight in check.3. Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables – and Avoid Too Much AlcoholA healthy diet can help lower the risk of breast cancer.  Try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (a drink a day or under).  While moderate drinking can be good for the heart in older adults, even low levels of intake can increase the risk of breast cancer.  If you don’t drink, don’t feel you need to start. If you drink moderately, there’s likely no reason to stop. But, if you drink more, you should cut down or quit.4. Don’t SmokeSmokers and non-smokers alike know how unhealthy smoking is.  On top of lowering quality of life and increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and at least 15 cancers – including breast cancer – it also causes smelly breath, bad teeth, and wrinkles. Now that’s motivation to stay smoke-free or work to get smoke-free.5. Breastfeed, If PossibleBreastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) lowers the risk of breast cancer. It also has great health benefits for the child.6. Avoid Birth Control Pills, Particularly After Age 35 or If You SmokeBirth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill – particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and uterine cancer – not to mention unwanted pregnancy – so there’s also a lot in its favor. If you’re very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.7. Avoid Post-Menopausal HormonesPost-menopausal hormones shouldn’t be taken long term to prevent chronic diseases, like osteoporosis and heart disease. Studies show they have a mixed effect on health, increasing the risk of some diseases and lowering the risk of others, and both estrogen-only hormones and estrogen-plus-progestin hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. If women do take post-menopausal hormones, it should be for the shortest time possible. The best person to talk to about the risks and benefits of postmenopausal hormones is your doctor.8. Tamoxifen and Raloxifene for Women at High RiskAlthough not commonly thought of as a “healthy behavior,” taking the prescription drugs tamoxifen and raloxifene can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in a woman at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention, these powerful drugs can have side effects, so they aren’t right for everyone. If you think you’re at high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.

Cancer Can Happen to Anyone! Just Avoid These

Dr. Rajat Sachdeva, Dentist
Studies suggest that approximately 44% men and 39% women are susceptible to develop Cancer in their lifetime which is scary news! Now, studies have been conducted all over the world which provides some statistics which shows that there are some definitive conclusions which can be related to cause of cancer. There are number of risk which we will discuss to create awareness about the ‘Dreaded’ cancer to help people to get clear perspective about it.SmokingThe biggest factor in today’s time which is considered life threatening is Smoking! It is a risk factor for Lung cancer, Cancer of mouth, throat, tongue, palate etc. It has become a status symbol to smoke and considered being cool, many of which are passively exposed by their spouses and relatives which puts them at risk of danger too. Smoking should be banned at home and office etc places to avoid other people from the risk of developing heart conditions.Chewable tobacco The tobacco people chew and doesn’t causes smoke is very prevalent in Asian countries like India which is no good than smoking and causing precancerous lesions and conditions before converting into cancer. It is equally harmful as smoking. Avoid!AlcoholSpirits generally include Whisky and brandy. But the new studies show that drinking one or two of the spirits or beer can increase the risk of a woman to have breast cancer. Consider to avoid alcohol or if that’s not possible then or if you find that difficult, try and reduce the intake slowly and gradually.Oh! The sunThe actinic radiation in sunlight is considered to causes Keratotic lesions on the lips of farmers who generally work really long hours in the fields; but the melanin pigmentation on the lips protects the malignant conversion in most cases.Environment smogMany chemicals escape from industrial smokestacks and industries including suspected carcinogens. Benzene comes out in car exhaust. Factors those favors ozone buildup and lead to smog alerts may cause these chemicals to build up. In order to prevent yourself from pollution, avoid exercise near high traffic areas and on polluted days try to stay indoors mostly during smog alerts.Lifestyle disordersExercising daily for at least 30 minutes daily keeps weight in control, may reduce risk of several cancers, mostly colon and breast cancer and also helps in preventing heart disease, diabetes and bone loss.Choosing the wrong foodResearchers have found out high levels of the carcinogen agents in French fries and potato chips. Try to avoid charred meat, limit the consumption of red meat to reduce your risk of colon cancer. Cut down on the fatty fish like carp, catfish, bass, king mackerel etc. Always choose a well balanced diet rich in fiber like lentils and whole grains and low in fat along with fresh fruits and vegetables.

How Cancer Scare Can Change Your Life

Dr. Sandeep Nayak, Surgical Oncologist
Coping with cancerReceiving a diagnosis of cancer is probably one of the worst things happening to anybody. But, it need not be that scary. You are not alone. When you are diagnosed with cancer you are facing a total new and unknown world. Whether this is your first time with cancer, or you’re experiencing a recurrence, it’s most important to remember that you are not alone. There are many like you who are going through this treatment and successfully so. Take Emotional HelpEveryone deals with a cancer diagnosis differently. You could approach the others suffering from cancer to understand what they go through and prepare yourself for the future steps. It is better to approach a group than an individual as they provide you a broader perspective. There are many help groups that are actively involved in such activities and help new patients to cope with their disease.  You will be vulnerable at this time and it is important to avoid, as far as possible to make any key decisions about your treatment, while you are in the state of shock. Most people report that they could not retain or remember what the doctor told them.Treatment of Cancer.Many don’t know that cancer can be treated and in many cases it can be cured. Your doctor would advise you a combination of surgery, chemotherapy (injections) and radiotherapy. Sometimes other forms of treatment are advised. It is important that you go through all the subjected treatment without skipping any. It may take a few months to complete all of it. Hope for Cure.While cancer may be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face, there are reasons to be hopeful. Treatments for cancer has become more sophisticated and health professionals continue to deepen the understanding of cancer.Cure is possible for many cancers today. And beside medical treatments you have many other resources to draw on as well for your healing, e.g. complimentary medicine, integrative medicine, alternative therapies, yoga. Your Cancer Mentor, friends, family, your spiritual community or and other follow patients and survivors also there for you, to support you throughout your healing journey.

Powerful Tips That Will Help You Prevent Breast Cancer!

Dr. Disha Sridhar, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
We hear so much about breast cancer these days . The incidence is increasing day by day and many younger women are being diagnosed with this problem. Much effort is placed on trying to detect cancer at an earlier stage with expensive and semi invasive procedures like mammography. The research now shows that it has its own set of risks. Is there a better way? Yes there is which I am going to tell you now as prevention is always better than cure.We all know that ESTROGEN the female hormone is implicated in breast cancer. Research shows that how you metabolise estrogen can be one of the causes of cancer. To prevent breast cancer, we at Truhealing focus on supporting estrogen detoxification, a process that happens primarily in the liver.TYPES OF ESTROGEN- GOOD & BAD.The question comes up that when all of us have estrogen, why do only some people develop a breast cancer? Well its because there are two kinds of estrogens, good and bad and they make more bad estrogens than good ones.When estrogen is processed for elimination, the hormones are sent to the liver where they are metabolized, a process also called detoxification. During the estrogen detox process, you can end up with “bad” estrogens or “good” estrogens. The bad ones are toxic and damage DNA, as opposed to the “good” estrogen metabolites that behave safely and are preferable. Although our genetics influence how easily we make the good and bad estrogens, it turns out that food and other lifestyle factors have a major effect on the kinds of metabolites the liver will make. Thats why I like to say that food is the most powerful medicine.IMPROVE YOUR RATIO OF GOOD:BAD ESTROGENSThe best way to reduce your cancer risk is to increase your good estrogens, and decrease the bad. Here are some tips.Eat lots of food that supports estrogen detoxification pathways: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, fiber from fruits and vegetables, beans, flax seeds etc.Consider taking the supplement Diindolylmethane, which can increase good estrogen and reduce bad ones. Hence decrease the risk of breast cancer.Optimize your vitamin D levels. Get your vitamin D level checked. Ideally, you’ll want your levels within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.Practice healthy lifestyle and avoid over exposure to chemicals (plastics), and pesticides.Breast cancer can be prevented with some simple dietary and lifestyle changes. 

This Is One of the Most Common Yet Unspoken Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Ms. Samara Mahindra, Dietitian/Nutritionist
What is Lymphedema? The lymphatic system consists of a fluid called lymph, which flows throughout our entire body for detoxification (think of your very own drainage system!). But this system is mostly compromised when one undergoes cancer treatment i.e, radiation and surgery of lymph nodes, which commonly leads to lymphedema. Lymphedema is localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a damage to the lymph nodes. It’s one of the adverse effects of treatment which can happen to both men and women.Even though it’s a side effect of treatment, many doctors fail to educate cancer patients about the occurrence and the prevention of lymphedema. The patient is totally lost when it occurs suddenly.In women, it’s most prevalent in the upper limbs after breast cancer surgery, in particular after an axillary lymph node dissection, occurring in the arm on the side of the body in which the surgery is performed. Between 38% and 89% of breast cancer patients suffer from lymphedema due to axillary lymph node dissection and/or radiation.Many people also need radiation therapy in the chest area and/or underarm because of the cancer spreading. Radiation can cut off or damage some of the nodes and vessels through which the lymph moves, resulting in the blockage of lymph which causes swelling.Stages of LymphedemaThere are four stages in lymphedema:Stage 0 is a condition where the transport capacity is decreased but the remaining lymph vessels manage to push the lymph through and the swelling is not visible.Stage 1 is the reversible stage where the swelling is evident in the arms and legs.Stage 2 is the irreversible stage in which there is thickening and hardening of the soft tissue and excessive swelling occurs.Stage 3 is called lymphostatic elephantiasis. Over here, there is severe hardening of the tissue and swelling which leads to irreversible complications. The volume of the swelling in Stage 2 and 3 can be decreased if treatment is initiated at the right time.Therefore, implementing lymphedema exercises on a regular basis is essential to healing.What exercises can be done?Many research studies have found that exercising regularly i.e, doing yoga, aerobics and mild stretching will decrease the chances of recurrence of lymphedema. The Lymphatic system is between the muscle and the skin, so by expansion, contraction and bouncing the lymph gets stimulated and pumped everywhere.This breast cancer awareness month, we at CARER are trying to raise awareness about the least spoken side effect of treatment, lymphedema. To know more about CARER visit us at https://www.carerprogram.com/CARER has a segment which addresses Lymphedema and has provided you with a lymphedema exercise chart that can be followed and practiced at home because exercising with the right guidance is more effective and beneficial and those who should practice the Lymphedema exercises regularly are the following:Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes removed.Patients who have recently had their lymph nodes irradiated.The exercises which we have provided are simple and easy to do at home. We focus on both upper extremity as well as lower extremity lymphatic exercises along with neck, pelvic, shoulders and arms, which is where the lymphedema occurs. As a lymphedema compression garment is essential, we have also gone one step ahead and provided you the resource of where you can buy the compression garments. Proxima is a specialist in providing its clients with proper attire to protect you from lymphedema or manage and control symptoms. Proxima Speciality Healthcare Since being founded in 2010, has grown into the India’s leading manufacturer and distributor of custom made and readymade medical grade compression garments.The best solution to lymphedema is to plan a lymphedema exercise chart and to follow it regularly. You can also consult a lymphedema exercise specialist to get a personalised exercise chart specifically for you. It’s important for you not to take this side effect of treatment lightly and implement the right measures to make sure you are at no risks of lymphedema.