Articles on breast cancer

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

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!

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.

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.

Decrease Chances of Getting Breast Cancer

Dr. Alpa Alok Modi, Oncologist
We all know how difficult it is to get cured once you get any kind of cancer. More so when it has spread all over the body, lends you with multiple chemo sessions, radiotherapy etc. Yes it is very painful after that and the chances of survival is so low once it has spread.  So why not take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place itself. I should know because I have been successful in treating a lot of my young patients with a lot of education, screening and motivation and I am happy to say that today most of my patients with early cancer who came to me or got it operated from me in the early stages are free of cancer.So here are a few tips to make your life happy and cancer free :1. MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT. Obesity decreases chances of fighting cancer.2. EAT HEALTHY.  Eating raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetable oil over animal oil goes a long way to keep you slim, trim and cancer free. It also decreases your chances of diabetes as      I have seen my husband's patients improving on their diabetes status since I have seen him recommend this as he is a renowned diabetologist and metabolic specialist. 3. EXERCISE REGULARLY.  All it takes is a 30 mins walk five times a week. Is that too much ? Then go for it. Studies have shown that it decreases the breast cancer risk by 10 to 30%.4. CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL.  Reduce your alcohol intake to strictly not more than one glass per day. what type vodka, beer etc you drink is immaterial. NOT MORE THAN A SMALL  GLASS.5. NO SMOKING . Smoking is ALWAYS BAD. ANY AMOUNT. So don't go for it,6. BREAST FEEDING. Mother nature has given ladies  a pair of breast. use it to breast feed you child as long as you can. studies have clearly shown that the longer you feed your children lesser are the chances of getting breast cancer. What a better way to keep one healthy and increase the level of satisfaction, happiness  and bonding with your children too !!!. Go for it dear readers.7. HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY OR ESTROGEN BLOCKING DRUGS.  Learn to say no to them, unless indicated by your doctor. They only lead to multiple complications in the long run, Pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, estrogen gels, tamoxifen, raloxifene etc should be avoided unless under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner .8. BREAST CANCER SCREENINGS : There is nothing like doing a self examination of breast in front of a mirror. A lot of breast cancers can be picked up early in the diseases like this. Free of cost, avoidance of painful mammography exams, a self examination of breast goes  along way. We regularly hold such camps free of cost in Kevalya Hospital, where I am attached as a surgical consultant to teach female patients how to do it on a regular basis. Join us and join the movement and we will be happy to teach you do it in the comforts of your own home.9. PROPHYLACTIC SURGERY : These are meant for women with high risk like having a BRCA oncogene etc. This is an  option we can discuss on a personal meet. It is not a routine recommended procedure. We like to avoid mastectomy (removal of breast) as much as possible as it is disfiguring and very traumatic to a lady. So dear readers here is wishing you a lot of good health and hope you take care of your health actively,  feel free to contact me on 9820091853 and I hope I could be some guidance to you. 

Self Examination - Most Effective Way for Early Detection & Treatment of Breast Cancer

Dr. Sunny Jain, Oncologist
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Lately, there has been a rising trend of breast cancer in younger females. As prevention of breast cancer is a difficult task, experts opine that breast cancer awareness is the way to go. The motto of breast cancer awareness is to educate females about self-examination of the breast. The simple five-step technique can evade a lot of suffering of a full-blown breast cancer.Steps for self-examination of the breast:Uncover your upper body till the waist. Stand in front of a big mirror. Place your hands on the hip and straighten the shoulder. Now carefully look at your breasts for their usual shape,size and colour. Breasts are normally evenly shaped with no visible swelling or distortions.Most women do not have both breasts of the same size and shape. So do not worry about that. What you should look for and report is bulging of skin, dimpling or puckering of skin.Check whether the nipple has changed position. If the nipple is pushed inwards or there is redness, soreness or swelling of the breast skin, consult a doctor.Next step is to raise your arms up and look for the same changes while still in front of the mirror.Now, have a look at both of your nipples and check whether there is some fluid oozing out.The fluid could be watery, milky, yellow or blood-stained. This is an alarming sign, as normally there is no discharge from the nipples.Next, lie down on a couch with upper body uncovered. Use your right hand to feel the left breast and vice versa. Keep the finger flat and together and use the first few finger pads of your hands to feel the breast. With a firm and smooth touch, move the hand in circular motion covering a small portion of the breast at a time. Continue to examine in this fashion and cover entire breast from collar bone to top of abdomen and cleavage to armpits.Follow a pattern and make sure you feel the entire breast. Beginning at the nipples, you can move your hand in larger circles to the outer edge of the breast. Alternatively, you can move your hand up and down vertically in rows.Use light pressure for tissue beneath the skin and medium pressure on the middle part ofthe breast. As you reach the deeper tissue near the ribcage, use firm pressure to feel the breast. Follow the steps for both breasts.Finally, feel your both breasts in a similar way as above in a sitting or standing position. You may choose to do it as you shower if the wet and slippery texture of the skin comforts you.A stitch in time saves nine! If you are in your thirties or forties, this is a must for you. Self-examine your breast once a month, well after your periods are done. If you notice any changes, report to a gynaecologist soon.

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.

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.

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.