Tag Archives: cancer

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Another day passes peacefully in the life of Shama Hussain. Now, since she knows that humble souls are right behind her backing her to the finish, twinkle in her eyes has come back. She is more determined than ever before to stay alive and beat the inevitable.

Thanks to everybody out there who is backing her. Let the light in her life keep glowing for ever........... Thanks Guys

Understanding Breast Cancer -- the Basics

What Is Breast Cancer?

Before discussing breast cancer, it's important to be familiar with the anatomy of the breast. The normal breast consists of milk-producing glands that are connected to the surface of the skin at the nipple by narrow ducts. The glands and ducts are supported by connective tissue made up of fat and fibrous material. Blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatic channels to the lymph nodes make up most of the rest of the breast tissue. This breast anatomy sits under the skin and on top of the chest muscles. As in all forms of cancer, the abnormal tissue that makes up breast cancer is the patient's own cells that have multiplied uncontrollably. Those cells may also travel to locations in the body where they are not normally found. When that happens, the cancer is called metastatic. Breast cancer develops in the breast tissue, primarily in the milk ducts (ductal carcinoma) or glands (lobular carcinoma). The cancer is still called and treated as breast cancer even if it is first discovered after the cells have travelled to other areas of the body. In those cases, the cancer is referred to as metastatic or advanced breast cancer.

Breast cancer usually begins with the formation of a small, confined tumor (lump), or as calcium deposits (microcalcifications) and then spreads through channels within the breast to the lymph nodes or through the blood stream to other organs. The tumor may grow and invade tissue around the breast, such as the skin or chest wall. Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates -- some take years to spread beyond the breast while others grow and spread quickly. Some lumps are benign (not cancerous), however these can be premalignant. The only safe way to distinguish between a benign lump and cancer is to have the tissue examined by a doctor through a biopsy.

Men can get breast cancer, too, but they account for just one percent of all breast cancer cases. Among women, breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths after lung cancer. If eight women were to live to be at least 85, one of them would be expected to develop the disease at some point during her life. Two-thirds of women with breast cancer are over 50, and most of the rest are between 39 and 49. Fortunately, breast cancer is very treatable if detected early. Localized tumors can usually be treated successfully before the cancer spreads; and in nine out of 10 cases, the woman will live at least another five years. However, late recurrences of breast cancer are common. Once the cancer begins to spread, treatment becomes difficult, although treatment can often control the disease for years. Improved screening procedures and treatment options mean that at least seven out of 10 women with breast cancer will survive more than five years after initial diagnosis and half will survive more than 10 years.

What Causes Breast Cancer?

Although the precise causes of breast cancer are unclear, we know what the main risk factors are. Still, most women considered at high risk for breast cancer do not get it. On the other hand, 75% of women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors. Among the most significant factors are advancing age and family history. Risk increases slightly for a woman who has certain benign breast lumps and increases significantly for a woman who has previously had breast cancer or endometrial, ovarian, or colon cancer.

A woman whose mother, sister, or daughter has had breast cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease, particularly if more than one first-degree relative has been affected. This is especially true if the cancer developed in the woman while she was premenopausal, or if the cancer developed in both breasts. Researchers have now identified two genes responsible for some instances of familial breast cancer -- BRCA1 and BRCA2. About one woman in 200 carries one of these genes. Having a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene predisposes a woman to breast cancer and -- while it does not ensure that she will get breast cancer -- her lifetime risk is 56%-85%. These genes also predispose to ovarian cancer and are associated with pancreas cancer, melanoma, and male breast cancer (BRCA2).

Because of these risks, prevention strategies and screening guidelines for those with the BRCA genes are more aggressive. There are other genes that have been identified as increasing the risk of breast cancer, including the PTEN gene, the ATM gene, the TP53 gene, and the CHEK2 gene. However, these genes carry a lower risk for breast cancer development than the BRCA genes. Generally, women over 50 are more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. A link between breast cancer and hormones is gradually becoming clearer. Researchers think that the greater a woman's exposure to the hormone estrogen, the more susceptible she is to breast cancer. Estrogen tells cells to divide; the more the cells divide, the more likely they are to be abnormal in some way, potentially becoming cancerous.

A woman's exposure to estrogen and progesterone rises and falls during her lifetime. This is influenced by the age she starts menstruating (menarche) and stops menstruating (menopause), the average length of her menstrual cycle, and her age at first childbirth. A woman's risk for breast cancer is increased if she starts menstruating before age 12 (less than 2 times the risk), has her first child after 30, stops menstruating after 55, or does not breast feed. Current information about the effect of birth control pills and breast cancer risk is mixed. Some studies have found that the hormones in birth control pills probably do not increase breast cancer risk or protect against breast cancer. However other studies suggest that the risk of breast cancer is increased in women who have taken birth control pills recently, regardless of how long she has taken them. Some studies suggest that the use of hormone replacement therapy with combined estrogen and progesterone containing compounds increases the risk of developing breast cancers. They also show, after a 7 year follow up, that the use of estrogens alone does not increase or decrease the risk of breast cancer development. Their use may, though, increase the risk of clotting. High doses of radiation, such as with nuclear exposure, or therapeutic radiation, such as used for Hodgkin lymphoma, are a factor for breast cancer development after 15-20 years. Mammography poses almost no risk of breast cancer development.

The link between diet and breast cancer has been debated. Obesity is a noteworthy risk factor, predominately in postmenopausal women, because obesity alters a woman's estrogen metabolism. Drinking alcohol regularly -- particularly more than one drink a day -- also increases the risk of breast cancer. Many studies have shown that women whose diets are high in fat, either from red meat or high-fat dairy products, are more likely to get the disease. Researchers suspect that if a woman lowers her daily calories from fat -- to less than 20-30 percent -- her diet may help protect her from developing breast cancer.

(This Blog has been assembled with content help from WebMD. The sole aim of this Blog is to create an awareness among masses about different kinds of Cancer. I am committed to this act because my wife is a Breast Cancer Patient and I want to help / guide the masses to fight against this deadly disease).

Hormone Receptors in Advanced Breast Cancer

 

The hormones in the body that launches you into puberty and control the monthly period can play a role in breast cancer.

Most breast cancers -- about 2 out of every 3 -- are sensitive to the hormones estrogen or progesterone. These tumors have a sort of biological on-off switch called a hormone receptor. Estrogen and progesterone can flip these switches "on" and quicken the cancer cells' growth. Your doctor will test your cancer to see if it has hormone receptors. If it does, she may call it "hormone-receptor positive" or “ER-positive” or “PR-positive.”

For advanced breast cancer, the doctor may want to repeat these tests after a while to see if the cancer has changed. It may respond differently to hormones than before. Test results will help the doctor to find the best treatment at any stage.

Compared with other types of breast cancer, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers, called HR-positive cancers, tend to:

  • Grow more slowly
  • Respond better to hormone therapy
  • Have a better outlook (prognosis)

What Is HER2-Positive Breast Cancer?

About 20% to 25% of breast cancers are HER2-positive. That means they have a certain protein (HER2/neu) that makes cancer cells grow. This kind of cancer tends to be much more aggressive and fast-growing than other kinds of breast cancer, but there are effective treatments that target HER2.

The doctor will test the cancer to find out if it is HER2-positive and also check on whether it has spread and if it's sensitive to hormones.

Causes

Researchers aren't sure what causes breast cancer. They think it may be a combination of things, including your genes, your environment, and your lifestyle. Every case is different.

In HER2-positive breast cancer, a gene causes cancer cells to make too much HER2/neu protein. When that happens, cancer cells grow in an out-of-control way.

This only happens in cancer cells. It can happen in other cancers, too -- not just breast cancer.

You can't inherit a bad copy of this gene from a parent or pass it on to your children.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of any type of breast cancer is a lump in your breast that feels different from the area around it.

Other symptoms include:

  • Breast swelling or a change in the shape of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Pain in the breast or nipple
  • Redness or thickness of the nipple or breast skin
  • Discharge from the nipple (not breast milk)

You may have noticed a difference in your breasts during a self-exam, or you may have had a mammogram that showed the cancer.

Getting a Diagnosis

When you're diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will test for HER2. There are four types of tests for HER2-positive breast cancer.

The IHC test (immunohistochemistry) checks for how much HER2 protein is in a sample of breast cancer tissue.

Three other tests check to see if there are too many HER2 genes in the cancer cells:

  1. FISH test (fluorescence in-situ hybridization)
  2. SPOT-Light HER2 CISH test (subtraction probe technology chromogenic in-situ hybridization)
  3. Inform HER2 Dual ISH test (inform dual in-situ hybridization)

Treatment

Breast cancers aren't all the same. It's important to find out if your breast cancer is HER2-positive because it makes a difference in how you treat it.

HER2-positive cancer doesn't respond well to just hormone treatment that is used for some breast cancers. But there are drugs that target the HER2 protein and greatly lower the risk of the cancer coming back. These drugs kill cancer cells that are making the HER2 protein. They are called targeted treatments, and in the case in of HER2-positive cancer, they stop or block the HER2 protein from helping cancer cells grow.

Taking Care of Yourself

Having breast cancer can be overwhelming. Remember that you're in control of your treatment decisions and how you live your life.

These tips can help you stay healthy while you get treatment:

  • Get the support you need, whether it's information about breast cancer, talking with someone, or practical help with daily tasks. It can all make a huge difference in how you feel. The people in your life will want to help, so let them know what you would like.
  • Listen to your body. Exercise can help you feel better, but only when you're up for it.
  • If you don’t have much appetite, try eating smaller meals every few hours, rather than big meals.

What to Expect

Although HER2-positive breast cancer tends to grow and spread faster than other kinds of breast cancer, many women respond very well to targeted treatments. Work with your doctor and health care team to develop the best treatment program for you.

Breast cancer of any kind is easier to treat when it is caught early. But even if your breast cancer has spread or has come back, there are still ways to treat it. Each case is different.

(This Blog has been assembled with content help from WebMD. The sole aim of this Blog is to create an awareness among masses about different kinds of Cancer. I am committed to this act because my wife is a Breast Cancer Patient and I want to help / guide the masses to fight against this deadly disease).

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Another painful day passes for Shama. She experiences plenty of pain in her Hip Joints as well as her knees as her battle with cancer goes on. She has started looking up in life with more zest and gusto and is very determined for a pitched battle with this deadly disease. Her advise to every cancer patient is that Fight On............... no matter what may come your way. Do not let this deadly disease overcome you. Where there is a Will there is a Way.

Thanks to all you guys there for being concerned for her......

TUBERCULOSISM

Most unfortunate thing which is associated with tuberculosis is wrong diagnosis. Most of the time anti-tubercular treatment is started on the basis of symptoms or on the basis of imaging like diagnosis of lung tuberculosis is made on the basis x ray chest only, any lesion in spine is diagnosed as bone tuberculosis. Many times diagnosis on the basis of imaging is not correct and patient gets treated wrongly. Ideally the diagnosis should be made on the basis of pathological examinations like FNAC, BIOPSY etc. 

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Just for your information, I am attaching my wife SHAMA HUSSAIN's medical documents.

Shama-Breast Cancer, Chemo-Prescription-1to4, Chemo-Prescription-5to12, Shama-Bone Cancer

Here are the hospital / doctor details:

Shama's treatment is going on from the same hospital where it started right from the beginning in Oct-Nov 2010. It is a very good and Super Speciality Hospital for Cancer Treatment. Lot of foreigners come here for treatment. The Hospital name is "ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES" Badkal Flyover Road, Faridabad, Haryana. She is under treatment of Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal, Director Medical Oncology, at this hospital. They have a website http://www.aimsindia.com

The Contact Detail of Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal - +91-9650099244 (He is always available on this no. He always picks the phone.)

Anybody can contact him for my wife Shama Hussain's treatment procedures.

Note: I am attaching the pics of Everolimus Tab 10 mg pack. You can see the cost of this medicine printed as Rs. 29,666/- per 10 Tabs. 3 packs of it (30 tablets, one per day) per month is to be given to her for the next 2 years. Since, it is a new medicine which has been introduced in the market, it is being marketed at a Discounted Price of Rs. 10,000/- per pack. i.e. Rs. 30,000/- for 30 Tablets per month.

Everolimus3 Everolimus1 Everolimus2

 

Tragic Case of Wrong Diagnosis

A 70 years male patient visited Dr. Praveen Kumar Bansal, Director Medical Oncology at AIMS, Faridabad, with severe back pain. He had been diagnosed as a case of lt lung tuberculosis. He took anti tuberculosis treatment for about 6 months. Initially he had some relief, but later on he developed progression of cough and developed back pain. Actually he was wrongly diagnosed as a case of tuberculosis, actually it was a case of lung cancer. If he would had been diagnosed correctly, he could have been saved. Any person on anti tubercular treatment should ask the doctor about disease status after one month of starting of treatment. It will help to decide, whether the treatment is going in right direction or not. Timely action would certainly save a precious human life. 

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  1. The youngest known survivor of breast cancer is Aleisha Hunter from Ontario, Canada. At only three years old, Aleisha underwent a complete mastectomy in 2010 to treat her juvenile strain of breast cancer.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.
  3. The first operation to use anesthesia was a breast cancer surgery.
  4. The incidence of breast cancer is highest in more developed countries and lowest in less developed countries.
  5. The left breast is statistically more prone to developing cancer than the right breast. Scientists are unsure why.
  6. In the U.S., an average of 112 women die of breast cancer every day, or one every 15 minutes.
  7. The United States has the most cases of breast cancer in the world.
  8. The first recorded mastectomy for breast occurred in A.D. 548 on Theodora, Empress of Byzantine.
  9. Only 5-10% of breast cancers occur in women who have a genetic predisposition for it. However, women with the gene mutation run a lifetime risk as high as 4 in 5 of developing the disease. The risk of developing ovarian cancer also rises to 2 in 5.
  10. When breast cancer spreads beyond the breast, it is said to be “metastatic.” The most common places breast cancer spreads to are the bones, liver, and lungs.
  11. Currently, about 1 in 3,000 pregnant or lactating women will develop breast cancer. Research has shown that once a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy, her chances of survival are less than a non-pregnant woman.
  12. It has been estimated that if every woman over the age of 50 had her yearly mammogram, breast cancer deaths in this age group would drop by 25% or more.
  13. Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for approximately 1% of breast cancer rates in the U.S. Nearly 400 men die of breast cancer each year. African American men are more likely to die from breast cancer than white men.
  14. Risk factors for male breast cancer include age, BRCA gene mutations, Klinefelter’s syndrome, testicular disorders, a family history of female breast cancer, severe liver disease, radiation exposure, being treated with estrogen-related drugs, and obesity.
  15. The risk for breast cancer increases when a woman has been using HRT for more than five years. The largest risk is when both estrogen and progesterone are given together. Women who have had a hysterectomy and are taking pills containing estrogen alone are at less of a risk.
  16. One myth about breast cancer is that a person’s risk is increased only when there are affected relatives on the mother’s side of the family. However, the father’s side of the family is equally important in assessing breast cancer risk.
  17. Tumors are more likely to be malignant when they are firm and have irregular shapes, while benign tumors are more likely to feel round or soft. However, it is important to see a doctor when any lump is found in the breast.
  18. Breast cancer was often called the “nun’s disease” because of the high incidence of nuns affected by the cancer.
  19. Mammography was initially used in 1969 when the first specialized X-ray units for breast imagining were developed.
  20. In 1882, the father of American surgery, William Steward Halstead (1852-1922), introduced the first radical mastectomy (the breast tissue underlying chest muscle and the lymph nodes are removed). Until the mid 1970s, 90% of women with breast cancer were treated with this procedure.
  21. Breastfeeding has consistently been shown to reduce breast cancer—the greater the duration, the greater the benefit.
  22. Although not fully understood, research suggests that preeclampsia is associated with a decrease in breast cancer risk in the offspring and the mother.
  23. There are a number of misconceptions about what can cause breast cancer. These include, but are not limited to, using deodorants or antiperspirants, wearing underwire bras, having a miscarriage or induced abortion, or bumping/bruising the breast tissue.
  24. Women with high breast density were found to have a four- to six-fold increased risk of breast cancer compared with women with lower breast density.
  25. No association has been found between breast implants and an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the FDA recently announced that breast implants might be associated with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). ALCL is not breast cancer, but may show up in the scar capsule surrounding the implant.
  26. One study found that increased exposure to ethylene oxide, a fumigant used to sterilize medical experiments, is associated with higher breast cancer risk among women who work in commercial sterilization facilities.
  27. Nurses who work night shifts and flight attendants who have circadian rhythm disruption have a higher risk of breast cancer with long-term employment. The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that shift work, especially at night, is carcinogenic to humans.
  28. The most common type of breast cancer (70%) originates in the breast ducts and is known as ductal carcinoma. A less common type of breast cancer (15%) is known as lobular carcinoma, or cancer that originates in the lobules. More rare types of cancers include medullary carcinoma, Paget’s disease, tubular carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, and phyllodes tumors.
  29. Nearly 10.4 % of all cancers in women is breast cancer.
  30. Approximately 1.2 million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed around the world each year. About 75% are found in women over age 50.
  31. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports a higher risk of breast cancer in women who take multivitamins.
  32. Research has found that pomegranates may help prevent breast cancer. Chemicals called ellagitannins block the production of estrogen, which can fuel some types of breast cancer.
  33. Studies report that breast cancer patients with diabetes were nearly 50% more likely to die than those who didn’t have diabetes.
  34. Long-term breast survivors who were treated with radiation before 1984 have much higher rates of death due to heart disease.
  35. There is a strong correlation between increased weight and breast cancer, especially those who gained weight in adolescence or after menopause. Body fat composition in the upper body also increases the risk.
  36. On average, it takes 100 days or more for a cancer cell to double in size. It takes about 10 years for cells to divide to a size that can be actually felt.
  37. Breast cancer was one of the first cancers to be described by ancient physicians. For example, physicians in ancient Egypt described breast cancer more than 3,500 years ago. One surgeon describes “bulging” tumors in the breast of which “there is no cure.
  38. In 400 B.C., Hippocrates describe breast cancer as a humoral disease caused by black bile or He labeled cancer karkinos, meaning “crab,” because the tumors seemed to have tentacles which looked like the legs of crab.
  39. To disprove the theory that breast cancer was caused by an imbalance of the four body humors, namely an excess of bile, French physicians Jean Astruc (1684-1766) cooked a slice of breast cancer tissue and a slice of beef and then chewed both. He said that because they tasted exactly the same, breast cancer tumor does not contain bile or acid.
  40. Some physicians throughout history have proposed that breast cancer was caused by several factors, including lack of sex—which caused reproductive organs, such as the breast, to atrophy and rot. Other physicians suggested that “vigorous sex” blocked the lymphatic system, that depression restricted blood vessels and trapped coagulated blood, and that a sedentary lifestyle slowed bodily fluids.
  41. Researchers speculate that left-handed women are more prone to developing breast cancer because they are exposed to higher levels of certain steroid hormones in the womb.

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HOW TO IDENTIFY DISEASE IN EARLY STAGE

 
Most of the time not only cancer but many diseases are diagnosed in advanced stage only.
The reason behind it is that our body is having large reserve capacity, for example a person can survive with only one kidney or with one lung only.
Symptoms surface late because of this reason.
Another reason is sensitivity of investigations.
Most of the investigations pick up the disease in advanced stage, for example kidney function test will come abnormal only when more than 2/3 part of kidney gets damaged.
The only solution is to meet the doctor at least once in a year, specially regarding the cancer investigation.
REMEMBER CANCER IS CURABLE ONLY IF TREATED IN EARLY STAGES.