Save Yourself From Lung Cancer!

Lung cancer is a very serious form of cancer. This is lethal especially when the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs has already spread to the other organs in the body.

Cancerous cells can break down and can spread in other parts of the body by forming secondary tumor sites, which makes it more fatal.

When the tumor is already on its advanced stage, managing it is somewhat harder. It may help to know that early detection of lung cancer is best to ensure the possibility of putting the lung cancer into remission.

If early detection of lung cancer did not happen, diagnosis in the advanced stage may be harder and managing the symptoms may likewise be too difficult.

Lung cancer treatment is greatly dependent on the severity of the disease. Knowing which type of lung cancer you are suffering from may help in the management of the disease.

There are two types of lung cancer, the small cell lung cancer and the non-small cell lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer or oat cell lung cancer comprises the twenty to twenty-five percent of all lung cancer cases. The major cause of small cell lung cancer is cigarette smoking.

Commonly, because lung cancer symptoms do not manifest in the early stage of the disease, treating it will be a big problem especially when detection happens when cancer metastases or secondary cancer cells already developed in the other organs of the body.

Non-small cell lung cancer, on the other hand, involves several kinds of lung cancers. The differentiation of these kinds of non-small cell lung cancer depends on the type of cells affected.

Three common types of non-small cell lung cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma.

These forms of non-small cell lung cancer tend to grow and spread slower than the small cell lung cancer.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common non-small cell lung cancer. This non-small cell lung cancer starts in the large bronchi and stay confined to the chest longer than other lung cancers do, because of this, the cancer do not spread as rapidly than the other types.

Adenocarcinoma, the primary cause of this non-small cell lung cancer is still a challenge to medical experts. Thus, experts continue to study the major cause of this cancer. Even with this pending study, cigarette smoking and breathing impure air is still being considered as major participant in the development of lung cancer.

Doctors believe that the tumor in this type of lung cancer is in the outer edges of the lungs and under the lining of the bronchi. The progression of this non-small cell lung cancer is average but survival odds remain on the 10% mark.

Adenocarcinoma constitutes thirty to thirty-five percent of all lung cancer cases in America.

Large cell lung cancer is another non-small cell lung cancer. The tumor in this type of lung cancer is on the smaller bronchi. Fifteen percent of lung cancer cases are large cell lung cancers.

Among all non-small cell lung cancers, this type of lung cancer progresses faster, almost to the level of small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer cases account for the fourteen percent of all cancer cases in the United States. At worst, twenty-eight percent of all death among cancer patients are lung cancer cases.

To avoid being part of the statistics on lung cancer, ensure you will not acquire small cell lung cancer or even the slower non-small cell lung cancer by living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding exposure to impure air including cigarette smoke will help strengthen your immune system and this will avoid acquiring the deadly disease.

Seven Secrets About Breast Cancer

Secret #1 The Money Spent On Research Into Breast Cancer Is Not Ensuring That Less Women Get Breast Cancer.
Secret #2 You Do Need To Act Against Getting Breast Cancer Before You Reach 50 And You Cannot Rely On Mammograms.
Secret #3 You Are At Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer Even If You Don’t Have It In Your Family.
Secret #4 Most Of The Money Spent On Research Is Not Going Into Prevention To Ensure That Less Women Suffer The Devastating Effects Of Breast Cancer In The Future.
Secret #5 Most Women Are Not Breast Aware And Are Afraid Of Breast Cancer.
Secret #6 Women Are Not Given Lots Of Advice On How They Can Protect Their Breasts Against Breast Cancer.
Secret #7 Most Women Do Not Appreciate How Important Their Breasts Are And Do Not Do Everything They Can To Look After And Protect Them.

The above “secrets” are things which are not commonly known by most women and may be surprising to you. In this article, I intend to shed light on these facts and allow women to make up their own minds how they approach their breast health.

SECRET #1 THE MONEY SPENT ON RESEARCH INTO BREAST CANCER IS NOT ENSURING THAT LESS WOMEN GET BREAST CANCER.

The Pink Ribbon and Breast Cancer Awarenss Month was introduced in the US in 1985 and introduced to the UK in 1993. The Pink Ribbon Foundation is fronted by the Estee Lauder group of companies (known for cosmetics and skincare).

Since then the pink ribbon symbol has become synonymous with breast cancer and during the past 15 years billions of pounds have been raised in its name. Every October the world celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month and fund raising during that month is phenomenal. All the breast cancer charities vie with each other to see who can come up with the most innovative “pink” fundraising. They run pink parties and sell pink products in order to raise money. Many companies take part and do special promotions during October for their preferred charity. “Pink” is big business.

So with all this money being raised during October and also at other times during the year through events like charity runs and walks, is there an impact on the breast cancer rates in the UK and around the world? Are they coming down? Are fewer women suffering from the devastating effects of breast cancer?

Unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’.

In the UK, from 1993-2004, breast cancer incidence has increased 18.5%, that is 1% per year. 1 in 9 women will get the disease during their lifetime with current projections of 1 in 7 by 2010. 45,500 women were diagnosed in 2005, which equates to 125 women every day. Worldwide more than a million women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. It is also projected that breast cancer rates will rise most in developing countries, where women do not have access to top quality care and where they can also be treated as outcasts in certain societies.

Breast cancer survival rates have improved. Every year more than 12,300 women and 70 men die from breast cancer. Since the peak in the late 1980s breast cancer death rates have fallen by a third. Breast cancer drugs have helped to save women’s lives but, as with any drugs, can have long-term side affects. Also the cost of these drugs puts great strain on the NHS. If breast cancer rates continue to increase as they have been doing, then, according to Professor Karol Sikora as reported in the Daily Mail on 09/09/08, “the next generation of drugs would keep patients alive longer, but could swallow half of the current NHS cancer budget within four years. (this refers to all cancer drugs at a cost of £50 billion).

With the billions being raised by people around the world in the name of breast cancer, is it right that actually more women are getting this devastating disease every year?

SECRET #2 YOU DO NEED TO ACT AGAINST GETTING BREAST CANCER BEFORE YOU REACH 50 AND YOU CANNOT RELY ON MAMMOGRAMS.

Women in the UK are offered breast screening by mammogram every three years from the age of 50. This is because breast cancer is still more common in women over 50 but also because the breast tissue of younger women is denser and, therefore, makes it more difficult for a mammogram to pick up on a potential breast lump.

However, this could be giving the message to younger women that they don’t need to check their breasts themselves. Based on my experience during my breast health talks, very few younger women check their breasts. The main reasons for this are that no-one has shown them how to, they don’t know what to do, they think that they only need to worry if breast cancer is in the family (see Secret #3) or they are afraid that they might find something.

For a younger woman it is even more important to check her breasts from her mid-twenties as breast cancer in younger women is usually much more aggressive as the breast cancer cells can multiply more rapidly than in older women. If girls were taught by their mothers to check their breasts from their mid-twenties, they would not be afraid – it would just be part of their general regime of looking after themselves. Also they would feel confident about what to do. Breast self-examination is easy to do once you have been shown how and there are even devices on the market which can help you do so with confidence and greater accuracy.

Breast cancer is the biggest killer of women aged 35-54, which means it makes sense for women in this age bracket to do everything they can to protect their breasts.

Furthermore, I do not believe that we should rely on mammograms either. Women are only screened every three years and, usually, a mammogram can only detect a breast tumour once it has been growing for 8 years. By the time the tumour reaches 10 years, it could be too late. The other thing to remember is that a mammogram can only screen the part of the breast which can be put into the “clamp”. It cannot screen under the armpit or between the breasts for example.

Lastly, there is growing concern over the safety of mammograms. The following are extracts from an article written by Peter Leando PhD.

“Controversy has raged for years as to whether the risks related to the radiation exposure suffered from mammography are justified by the benefits gained …… new evidence relating to the particular type of radiation used and the hard evidence relating to the clinical benefits of mammography have caused a serious re-evaluation of the justification of mammography as a screening test.

Radiation from routine mammography cannot be directly compared to other types of X-ray like chest X-ray etc because they are very different types of radiation.

The comparisons that have been used between a chest x-ray and mammography, 1/1,000 of a rad (radiation-absorbed dose) for a chest X-ray and the 1 rad exposure for the routine four films taken of both breasts for a mammographic screening exam results in some 1,000 times greater exposure. (This refers to the US, where they do four-way screening. In the UK typically only two-way screening is offered.)

This is considered a significant risk factor when extended over a ten year screening period and a potential accumulative dose of 10 rads. Unfortunately this is not the major risk posed by the particular type of radiation used by mammograms, mammography X-rays use a low energy form of ionising radiation that causes greater biologic damage than the high energy X-ray. The very low energy electrons affect the density of ionisation tracks that pass through the tissue, which can cause complex damage to the DNA and carcinogenic changes.

The radiation used by mammography is almost 5 times more effective at causing cancer.” So, women do need to start checking their breasts from their early twenties and we cannot rely on mammograms 100%, particularly for younger women who would have a greater exposure to radiation during their lifetime if they were offered mammograms from a younger age. Also mammograms do not detect Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) which is a much rarer form of the disease and does not involve a lump. This would only detected by a woman looking for changes to her breasts and reporting them to her doctor.

SECRET #3 YOU ARE AT RISK OF GETTING BREAST CANCER EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT IN YOUR FAMILY.

Amongst the hundreds of women I have talked to about breast health, the vast majority were under the false impression that breast cancer is primarily hereditary. They were surprised to hear that fewer than 10% of cases occur to women who have breast cancer in the family.

In fact, every woman is at risk and should take control of her own breast health to give herself the best possible chance of prevention or early detection.

The other most common acknowledged risk factors are:

  • Age – breast cancer is more common in women over 50
  • Early puberty – it is worrying that puberty is starting younger, with most girls starting their periods at primary school
  • Late pregnancy – many woman are opting to have children later
  • Late onset menopause
  • Not having children and not breastfeeding – this was known as early as the 18th century when a doctor in Italy noticed that nuns had higher levels of breast cancer than the general population
  • Being overweight – this applies mainly to post-menopausal women
  • Alcohol – over-consumption increases the risk of breast cancer

Acknowledged risk factors account for around 50% of breast cancer cases. For the remainder, there are no definite reasons.

There are a growing number of scientists, commercial companies and individuals who believe that this remaining 50% is due to the rise of the number of chemicals which have been introduced over the past 50 years. They are used in our food, in our toiletries, in the workplace, in our clothes, in our furnishings – in fact, in every aspect of our lives. Many of these chemicals are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s), also known as hormone disruptors or oestrogen mimickers. In simple terms, they act like oestrogen in our bodies and could be responsible for changing our delicate hormone balance which controls events like pregnancy, puberty, menopause.

An interesting example of the levels of oestrogen of British women was examined in a collaborative study undertaken in the late 80’s between Oxford University, the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine Beijing, Guys, and the Dept. of Preventive Medicine, L.A., California. They compared blood-serum concentrations of hormones linked to breast cancer between women in rural China and in Britain. The results showed that British women who are exposed to toxic chemicals in their everyday lives had increasingly higher levels of oestradiol (oestrogen) than women living a rural lifestyle in China (see table below).

On this theme, the Guardian online reported on 22/05/07 that ‘Beijing blames pollutants for rise in killer cancers’.

Oestradiol levels higher in British women by: Age 35 – 44 36% Age 45 – 54 90% Age 55 – 64 171%

SECRET #4 MOST OF THE MONEY SPENT ON RESEARCH IS NOT GOING INTO PREVENTION TO ENSURE THAT FEWER WOMEN SUFFER THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF BREAST CANCER IN THE FUTURE.

As we know, billions of pounds are raised every year worldwide in the name of breast cancer and most of this money is received by the mainstream breast cancer charities. In my opinion, the areas which should be targeted by these funds are prevention, treatment and care. You would probably expect these areas, at least, to be treated with equal importance and the funds available allocated accordingly.

Let’s first take a look at the mainstream breast cancer charities in this country, namely Cancer Research UK (who obviously deal with all cancers), Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Campaign and Breast Cancer Care.

Cancer Research UK has done a huge amount of research into breast cancer and their website has a wealth of useful information with a lot of detail on breast cancer. Their slogan is ‘Together We Will Beat Cancer’. The charity offers funding schemes to scientists. Their research strategy is directed at reducing mortality from cancer and more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before. Cancer Research UK is looking trying to prevent breast cancer in women known to be at high risk of developing it (approx 10% of sufferers). Doctors have looked into using tamoxifen and other hormone blocking drugs such as anastrozole (Arimidex) to lower the risk of breast cancer in women with a strong family history. This work has to be done very carefully. These women are healthy and the treatment aimed at preventing breast cancer must not risk their health in other ways.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer supports a programme of cutting-edge biological research to reach their vision of ‘a future free from the fear of breast cancer’. Breakthrough set up the UK’s first dedicated breast cancer research centre in 1999, the Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre. Breakthrough is funding The Generations Study whosepurpose is primarily to investigate environmental, behavioural, hormonal and genetic causes of breast cancer, and secondarily to investigate the causes of other cancers and diseases, by means of a UK cohort study to be established of more than 100,000 women in the UK aged 18 years and older at entry.

However, when you look at environmental factors as a possible risk factor, it seems to be dismissed because it is too difficult to research due to the huge amount of chemicals to which we are exposed in our everyday lives. You can read more at their website under “risk factors”.

As I have mentioned, I am one of the many people who believe that certain chemicals which act like oestrogen in our bodies are a contributing factor in rising breast cancer rates. I am disappointed to see that Breakthrough are not even including this as a possible risk factor, particularly as we know that excessive oestrogen has been linked to breast cancer cell growth.

Breast Cancer Campaign cites its mission is to beat breast cancerby funding innovative world-class research to understand how breast cancer develops, leading to improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure. The charity is supporting 97 projects worth over £12.8 million in 41 locations throughout the UK. Over the past 13 years, Campaign has awarded 232 grants with a total value of over £23 million to universities, medical schools / teaching hospitals and research institutes across the UK. Campaign’s breast cancer research gap analysis document has been published by the open access journal Breast Cancer Research. The document entitled ‘Evaluation of the current knowledge limitations in breast cancer research: a gap analysis’ is the product of two and a half year project. It involved around 60 of the key breast cancer scientists in the UK.

Through their website, they sell products of various types and the companies who own those brands donate part of their profits to the Campaign. They include things like lip gloss, perfume, toiletries, clothing and stationery. Some of us would say that many of the products include harmful ingredients and are not actually contributing to the breast health of the ladies buying them! I was also disappointed that, although they mention prevention in their mission statement, I have one of their leaflets that shows prevention only receives 1% of their budget.

Breast Cancer Care, as its name suggests, is primarily concerned with the care and treatment of ladies going through breast cancer. It provides invaluable information and support.

I applaud all of these organisations who are dedicated to their work to help us understand and treat breast cancer.

However, I still believe that the risk factor of certain chemicals affecting our delicate hormone balance should be taken seriously and that all the available research should be studied. It is important to note that only 50% of breast cancer cases can be put down to one of the acknowledged risk factors. What is this remaining 50%? What has changed in our world over the past 50 years? It is also interesting that other countries are recognising the dangers of these chemicals and banning substances. I also believe in adopting the ‘precautionary principle’, which means that if there is a doubt over the safety to public health, then we should not wait until it is too late but take action as soon as possible. It has also been proved that there are alternatives to these potentially harmful chemicals when we see the growing number of companies who are selling safer food, cosmetics and toiletries.

This is why I am an active supporter of Breast Cancer UK, the only charity whose main focus is primary prevention. We are determined that breast cancer should be a ‘preventable’ disease not an ‘inevitable’ one. There is lots of research available on the link between endocrine disrupting chemicals and breast cancer. It is time that this was taken into account when looking at breast cancer risk factors.

SECRET #5 MOST WOMEN ARE NOT BREAST AWARE AND ARE AFRAID OF BREAST CANCER.

Despite the huge focus on being breast aware, particularly during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, the majority of women are not breast aware. In fact, most women pay little attention to their breasts and do very little to look after them, except maybe during breastfeeding. Our breasts represent our femininity – they make us feel sexy and they nourish our children. Yet most women don’t even know what their breasts feel like, let-alone check them for anything unusual.

It is so important that women take control of their own breast health by undertaking monthly self-examination to check for any changes. If they find a lump and go to their doctor straight away, the chances are the lump will be benign (80% are) or, if it is cancerous, they are giving themselves the best possible chance of recovery. At Stage One, women have around a 95% chance of surviving beyond 5 years. At Stage One the lump is less than 2cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else in the body. At Stage Four this survival rate drops to 1 in 10. The average size of lump discovered accidentally by women who don’t check their breasts regularly is approximately 3.6 cm.

I have spoken with hundreds of women through my breast education work and most women do not check their breasts because they don’t know what to do, they don’t realize that all women are at risk, they don’t know about the four stages of breast cancer and the corresponding survival rates, they don’t really think about the need to do anything to look after their breasts or they are afraid that they might find something.

According to research by Breast Cancer Campaign, breast cancer is the most feared disease amongst women. Fear is usually due to a lack of knowledge. This is certainly the case here. If women understood everything detailed here, they would want to give themselves the best chance of survival should they get the disease. The current approach to women’s breast health obviously isn’t getting through, which is why I believe it is time to get women to take control themselves and empower other women to do the same.

SECRET #6 WOMEN ARE NOT GIVEN LOTS OF ADVICE ON HOW THEY CAN PROTECT THEIR BREASTS AGAINST BREAST CANCER.

In the past, GP surgeries used to run Well Woman clinics where any woman could go and see a doctor or nurse and be given advice about looking after herself with practical information like being shown how to check her breasts. Very few surgeries offer these clinics now. This is one of the reasons that I started my Breast Health Presentations. I talk to women in the workplace or in other gatherings and empower them with information, which helps to remove some of their fear. I also show them how to check their breasts and talk to them about their bra-wearing habits, how to avoid harmful chemicals in their everyday lives and how to benefit from detoxifying breast massage.

As we know, breast cancer is the most feared disease amongst women and understanding how it develops, the risk factors and, most importantly, how to protect against it, will make women feel more in control and positive towards their breast health.

During October and other events during the year, the focus is on breast cancer rather than breast health. I am one of those people who believe that the more you focus on something negative, the more you will get of it. This is why it is time to change that focus.

I believe that it is definitely time for women to take their breast health into their own hands, which is why I have launched my new campaign “Healthy Breasts For Every Woman”. You can read more at www.healthybreastscampaign.co.uk.

SECRET #7 MOST WOMEN DO NOT APPRECIATE HOW IMPORTANT THEIR BREASTS ARE AND DO NOT DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO LOOK AFTER AND PROTECT THEM.

As I mentioned before, most women give very little thought to their breasts. They get up in the morning and they may give them a wash in the shower. They then shove them into a cage we call a bra (and most women wear a bra that doesn’t fit them properly) and forget about them for the rest of the day. It is amazing that we live in a society which is obsessed with breasts and women do very little to protect this most precious part of their body. It is also amazing that women spend a fortune on looking after every other part of their body with creams and lotions and forget about their breasts! I know that once women understand more about breast health and don’t feel so helpless in the face of breast cancer that they do want to be proactive and take control of their breast health.

Prostate Cancer Screening and Medical Malpractice

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of deaths resulting from cancer. Every year, approximately 29,000 men die in the U.S. from cancer of the prostate. Early detection with routine screening followed immediately with appropriate treatment could prevent many of these deaths. The failure on the part of some doctors to recommend routine prostate cancer screening to their male patients and to follow up on abnormal test results may constitute medical malpractice.

Screening for prostate cancer

Cancer specialists generally recommend that all men between the ages of 50 and 75, even those without any symptoms, should be screened for prostate cancer. Men with a single first degree relative (such as a father, brother, or son) diagnosed with cancer of the prostate before age 65, or of African-American descent, are at higher risk and should be screened starting at age 45. Men with multiple first-degree relatives diagnosed at an early age are at even higher risk and should begin screening at age 40. Screening consists of yearly:

o digital examination and

o PSA test

The digital examination is performed by briefly inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the back wall of the prostate. This procedure allows a doctor to check for the presence of nodules in the prostate.

The PSA test is a blood test that measures the amount of prostate specific antigen, an enzyme that is produced by the prostate and released into the blood stream. An elevated level of this enzyme could indicate the presence of cancer. Generally, PSA test results in the range of 0-4 are considered to be within the normal range for most men. These numbers can be further refined by such factors as the patient’s age.

An abnormal digital examination or a PSA test result higher than 4.0 should raise the suspicion that prostate cancer may be present. When this happens, the patient should, at a minimum, be advised of the possibility that the abnormal test results might indicate the presence of cancer and of options for further testing, such as a TRUS guided biopsy, to confirm whether cancer is present in the prostate.

The progression of the prostate cancer is tracked through stages

Once the cancer is diagnosed, the progression of the cancer is categorized by a four-level staging system:

o Stage 1 (also known as Stage A): The cancer is not palpable to the touch.

o Stage 2 (also known as Stage B): The cancer is palpable but is confined to the capsule.

o Stage 3 (also known as Stage C): The cancer is palpable and has spread outside the capsule, but no further than the seminal vesicles.

o Stage 4 (also known as Stage D): The cancer is palpable and has spread to the bone or other organs.

Treatment and prognosis

If prostate cancer is detected while it is still confined to the capsule, there is a very good chance that, unless it is an extremely aggressive form of cancer, it is curable. There are various treatment options when prostate cancer is detected while still in stage 1 or stage 2, including surgery (radical prostatectomy) and radiation therapy (either external beam therapy or interstitial therapy). Statistically, over 90 percent of men whose cancer is detected before it spreads outside the capsule are still alive 5 years after diagnosis. These statistics are lower for very aggressive forms of the cancer.

When the cancer spreads outside the capsule, it is not longer considered curable. At this point, the cancer of the prostate is at best merely treatable. Treatment options may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, orchiectomy (the surgical removal of the testicles), and possibly chemotherapy. In general, men whose cancer has already reached stage 3 by the time they are diagnosed have about a 50-50 percent chance that the cancer will progress. When the cancer of the prostate is already at stage 4 and has reached the bone or other distant organ at the time of diagnosis, the patient generally only has a 2-3 year life expectancy.

Failure to screen may constitute medical malpractice

Unfortunately, some doctors do not recommend routine screening to their patients. Some doctors even ignore abnormal digital examination results and elevated PSA results when they do PSA screening. By the time the cancer is discovered – often because the patient sees a different doctor who finds nodules during a digital examination or notices a highly elevated PSA, or the patient starts to feel lower back, hip pain, or other symptoms – the cancer has already advanced to a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The prognosis is now much different for this individual than it would have been had the cancer been detected early through routine cancer screening. In effect, as a result of the failure on the part of the doctor to advise the individual to undergo routine screening, or to follow up on an abnormal digital examination or an elevated PSA test result, the cancer is now much more advanced and the individual has a much reduced chance of surviving the cancer. In medical malpractice terms, this is referred to as a “loss of chance” of a better recovery.

Contact a Lawyer Today

If you or a family member suffered a delay in diagnosis of prostate cancer due to a doctor’s failure to recommend routine screening or to follow up on abnormal digital examination or PSA test results, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal (or medical) advice. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information at this web site without seeking professional legal counsel. A competent lawyer with experience in medical malpractice can assist you in determining whether you may have a claim for a delay in the diagnosis due to a failure on the part of the doctor to offer screening. There is a time limit in cases like these so do not wait to call.

Cancer Insurance Plans – Who Needs One And How Do You Choose The One That Is Right For You?

During the past 25 years, cancer plans have become increasingly popular. I applied for my first one about 21 years ago, right after I had my daughter. I was a single parent and wanted to be financially responsible. Since I had a new addition in my life, I also took out a new universal life insurance policy

Being young and naive myself, after a couple years I dropped the cancer plan thinking the money could be better spent on other needs for my little family. I did not take into consideration that my Grandmother, whom I’d never met, because she had died before I was born was a cancer victim. She died from colon cancer after a long fight and surgery to remove most of her colon which left her with a stoma and an ostomy bag to take care of for the remainder of her life.

Around the same time that I dropped my cancer plan, my UNCLE was diagnosed with BREAST CANCER and had a mastectomy. During this time his wife was also diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double radical mastectomy.

Several years later another aunt came down with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. She is now a big advocate for breast cancer cures and treatment and she spends a lot of time doing volunteer work at her local cancer treatment facility.

I am happy to say that both my aunt and my uncle have remained cancer free after their first bout with the disease, but unfortunately they do spend time taking care of my uncle’s wife who has not been so lucky. Her breast cancer has metastasized and turned into a stage 4 lung cancer, which is inoperable.

I also had another aunt by marriage, one that I looked up to so very much that I went into nursing because she WAS a nurse and an inspiration to me. I watched her go through the pain of chemotherapy and radiation. I saw my aunt, who was usually an outgoing and vibrant person, lying in that hospital bed covered with burns from the radiation and weak from the chemotherapy fighting for her life. Her cancer, which started out as lung cancer had metastasized into her liver and eventually took her from us.

Seeing all of this cancer in my family, some blood relatives and some not, I started to think about cancer and not only the devastating EFFECTS of cancer treatment on the patient, but also the FINANCIAL BURDENS that were created for family members. I learned this through personal family experience and later on as a nurse, seeing the effects and pressure the disease was putting on the families of the patients in my care.
While still in nursing school:

As a student nurse, my first patient was a cancer patient. When my instructor assigned her to me I was told that she was dying of cancer. I was scared, really scared. I was not sure if I was scared of her dying or scared of the cancer! I was terrified when I walked into her room, but there she was, aside from being a little frail she didn’t even look sick. She had colon cancer, the same cancer that killed my grandmother. She was so nice and funny and pleasant. I worked with her week after week in my clinical training and came to really care about her and her husband. When her husband would leave the room, she would tell me that all she really wanted was to go home, but she didn’t want to burden her husband with her care.

When I told my instructor this, she told me to find out about hospice care. At that time I had never heard of hospice care and so I had a lot of learning to do. I did all the research and the following week presented my findings to her husband and told him that I would arrange for a hospice nurse to come talk to them. Two days later when I came back to the hospital, she was gone–not deceased–but had gone home to live out the rest of her life, where she wanted to be. I never saw her again. This was a bitter-sweet feeling that I will never forget. I had been with this patient through surgery, through chemo, and we spent many hours just talking.

Getting to know her was one of the reasons that I chose to go into long-term care as a nurse. I didn’t want to see patients for 10 minutes and then they leave until the next sniffle brought them back to the doctor’s office, and I didn’t want to see them in hospitals where they were only there for a couple of days and then sent home.

As a nurse working in a long-term care facility, many of my patients had gone through cancer treatment and many still were in treatment. Many of them were hospice patients who were just being kept comfortable in their last few days.

This was a very hard job, both physically and mentally. There were days when I would leave work and cry in my car all the way home, then try to be a good wife and mother and act as if nothing were wrong. Many nurses go through that and it does take a toll on family life. Remember that!–and thank a nurse next time you meet one.
Leaving nursing for another career:

Several years later, I left nursing in pursuit of another way to not only make a living, but to help others. After all, helping people is the main reason I became a nurse. After a couple of years, and a couple jobs later, I found what I was looking for. I got a job that the public perceives as one step above a used car salesman. Yep!… I became an insurance agent!

I went to work with an internationally recognized supplemental insurance company (Aflac) and started selling mainly cancer plans. (I even sold one to myself!) I continued reading and researching everything I could find about cancer and then one day my mom called me. She needed me to take her to see an oncologist. She had a bad pap and was recommended to see a specialist. I was REALLY scared now! This is not an aunt or uncle, THIS IS MY MOTHER!

At the appointment, the doctor ran some tests and then we had to come back the following week for the results. That was a VERY long week. The waiting and wondering and not knowing was about to drive me crazy. Finally, the day came for the results. My mother was cleared of cancer, but the oncologist sat me down and told me to pass this along also to my sister. She told me that having cancer in your family can be genetic, but having a male in your family with breast cancer makes the risk even greater. She told me to have my cancer testing done yearly and to make sure my sister does also. She also told me something that I always tell my clients when I am talking about the cancer plans that I offer. “Testing, early detection and treatment can save your life.”

Just because you do not have a family history of cancer, does not make you immune to the disease. After all SOMEONE has to be FIRST and that someone could be you or a loved one. It is not just genetics that is a determining factor in cancer. At least once a week you hear of something new that causes cancer.
Now that I have related why you NEED a cancer plan, let me tell you how to choose the right plan!

Since not everyone has the same needs, there are different plans available. Here are a few basic questions you should ask when shopping for a cancer plan.

  • Where is the insurance company ranked on the National Underwriters list?
  • Is the company ranked “A” or higher with A.M. Best?
  • What kind of rate increases have they had in the past?
  • Do I like the representative of the company?

Why are these questions important?

National Underwriters rank companies by their assets, amount of paid premiums and amount of claims paid. This is important because a company who is paying out more than they are taking in may not be around in your time of need or they may be forced to increase rates to stay solvent. The financial security of a company you are going to be doing business with is very important!

A.M. Best is another objective look at the insurance company’s financial strength. You should always look to make sure they are at least an “A” or an “A+” or higher rated company with A.M. Best. They set the “benchmark” in the international market.

Many companies have increased the rate of their cancer plans over the years. (I found out just how important this was when my mother asked my aunt “Do you still have your cancer plan with….” And she said NO because they had raised the rate too much.) Make sure that the company you choose has rate stability and does not continually raise rates. Most companies have the right to raise rates by class, but that does not single you out as an individual to increase rates and some companies have NEVER raised the rates on their current policyholders.

It is also important to like the representative of the company you do business with, since that may be the person you speak with to make any changes to your plan or at the time of a claim. This may be someone with whom you will need to share personal information, so trust is important.

When you are searching for a cancer plan, I hope you remember the tips I have given you. You can learn more about cancer at our website, then click on the cancer page.

Also, to help fund free mammograms, please visit The Breast Cancer Site

And click on the Fund Free Mammograms Button. You can also sign up for email reminders on that site. Their sponsors donate everyday that you click.

Who Is More Prone To Develop Colorectal Cancer?

The exact reason why colon cancer develops in some persons and not in others is not clear. The incidence of colon cancer is quite varied among different countries and within different ethnic groups inside the same country. Industrialized countries like United States, Canada, UK, Western Europe, Australia and Japan have a much higher incidence of colorectal cancer compared to the less industrialized parts of the world like Asia, Africa, and South America. Colorectal cancer represent over 9 percent of all cancers in men and about 10 percent of all cancers in women world-wide. In industrialized countries the incidence of colorectal cancer can be as high as 12 to 14 of all cancers, and in non-industrialized countries much lower rates of about 7 to 8 percent of all cancers diagnosed may be colorectal cancer.

Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third commonest cancer diagnosed in the United States. Each year over 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer and over 50 percent of these patients will die from colorectal cancer. Colon cancer incidence is not much different between males and females, however colon cancer is slightly more prevalent in women compared to men (ratio of 1.2:1) but the rectal cancer is more common in males (ratio of 1.7:1).

Even though we do not know the exact cause of development of colorectal cancer, scientists have recognized several factors that can increase the risk of development of colorectal cancer. A risk factor for a disease is any condition that makes a person more likely to develop that diseases. Some of the risk factors like dietary factors are modifiable by the person involved while some other factors like age are un-modifiable. These risk factors may act in combination, and this combination of risk factors may be associated with cumulative increase in the risk of development of colorectal cancer. The simple presence of one or more risk factors does not necessarily mean that someone will develop colorectal cancer. On the other hand absence of all risk factors does not mean that an individual will not develop colorectal cancer, but generally more risk factors you have higher is the chance of developing colorectal cancer. Environmental factors also may be playing a role in the development of colorectal cancer. People who migrate from areas of low risk to areas of the world with higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, they tend to acquire the risk of the country to which they are migrating. This finding suggests the presence of environmental factors causing higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. Changes in dietary factors associated with migration may also be contributing to this increase in risk associated with migration from low risk areas to higher risk areas.

Risk factors for the development of colorectal cancer include the following:

  • Age over 50 years
  • Increased fat intake
  • Large intestinal polyps
  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Personal history of other cancers
  • Sedentary habits and lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol content
  • Genetic colon cancer syndromes like Familial adenomatous polyposis or Hereditary Non-polyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC)

Persons who have high risk of colorectal cancer may undergo screening for colorectal cancer with colonoscopy once every 2 to 3 years. Screening colonoscopy is recommended for every one who is 50 years or older. If someone has a higher than average risk of developing colorectal cancer, the screening may be initiated earlier than 50 years.

Little Did We Know That Prostate Cancer is the Most Common Non-Skin Cancer Amongst Men

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer, has overtaken lung cancer as the leading cancer affecting all men and followed by colorectal cancer.

Statistically, 80 percent of prostate cancers occur in men over the age of 65. Although this cancer can also occur in younger individuals, it is very rare under the age of 50. As males age the prostate can develop problems.

Annually, one out of six American men will develop it in the course of his lifetime. Little did we know the fact a man is 33% more likely to develop prostate cancer than a woman is to get breast cancer.

In 2004, it is estimated that 234,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnose in the United States. That makes it the most common cancer among American men, next to the skin cancer. More than 27,000 deaths due to prostate cancer are expected to occur annually.

One new case every 2 1/2 minutes. One new case every 150 seconds.

While in UK, nearly 35,000 men are diagnosed and about 10,000 men die from prostate cancer annually. This means over one man die every hour in UK.

Today, about two million men are fighting prostate cancer, and over the next decade, as baby boomer men reach the target ripen age for prostate cancer, about three million more will be compelled to join the battle. It is estimated that by 2012, the number of new cases in the U.S. is expected to increase to more than 300,000 new cases per year by 2012.

One new case every 100 seconds. One man dead every 13 minutes.

What is prostate?

Prostate is a male sex gland, the size of a walnut, located behind pubic bone in front of the rectum that encompasses lower part of a bladder. The tube that carries urine (the urethra) runs through the prostate. At birth the gland size is small like a pea and it continue to grow until age of 20 when a man reaches adulthood. Male hormones (called androgens) is responsible for this growth. The gland size will not change until 45, when it starts to grow again.

Its primary function is to produce thick fluids that nourish the sperm, as well as helping propel sperm through the urethra and out of the penis to reach and fertilize an egg. Even though prostate is not a primary component of urinary tract, but it is very important for urinary health.

In older men, the part of the prostate around the urethra may keep on growing. This causes BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) which cause problems passing urine. BPH is a problem that must be treated, but it is not cancer.

What is prostate cancer?

The body is made up of different types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide and then die. Sometimes, cells mutate and begin to grow and divide more quickly than normally. Instead of dying, these abnormal cells clump together to form tumors. If these tumors are cancerous or so-called malignant tumors, they can invade and kill healthy tissues in the body. From these tumors, cancer cells can metastasize (spread) and form new tumors in other parts of the body. In contrary, non-cancerous tumors or so-called benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate cancer is abnormal cells grow out of control forming small nodules or bumps (overgrowth tissue) on the surface of in the prostate gland. In some cases, the overgrowth tissue is benign and this prostate condition is called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH). Other times, abnormal cancerous cells characterize the overgrowth of tissue, and this is referred to as a malignancy or prostate cancer.

As its close proximity to the bladder, prostate disorder might interfere with urination and causing bladder or kidney problems. It is also located immediately next to the nerves responsible for erections hence it might interfere with sexual function as well.

Although more than 70% of all prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65, doctors recommend that every man above the age of 50 should have a PSA test and a rectal exam. According to statistic African-American have almost twice as much prostate cancer incidence rates as Caucasian American, hence they should start getting tested at age 40. The same is true if you have a
family history of prostate cancer.

One-third of men over the age of 50 have some cancer cells within their prostate and nearly all men over the age of 80 have a small area of prostate cancer. In most men, these cancers grow extremely slowly, particularly in elderly men, and it will never cause any problems. Even without treatment, many of them will not die of the prostate cancer, but who, but rather live and die of some other unrelated cause before the disease takes its toll.

However, similar to most types of cancer, if left completely unchecked prostate cancer can be aggressive, grow more quickly and may spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body, particularly lymph nodes or the bones. This makes treatment much more difficult.

What are the symptoms?

Prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms for years. When symptoms do occur, usually the cancerous cells have spread beyond the prostate, this is why regular check up for men age of 40 and above is necessary and recommended. The symptoms include:

  • Urinary problems:
  • Dull pain in the lower pelvic area, hips, or upper thighs
  • Not being able to urinate
  • Sensation that your bladder doesn’t empties
  • Having a hard time starting or stopping the urine flow
  • Problems with urgency of urination and difficulty in starting
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Weak flow of urine
  • Urine flow that starts and stops
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Pain at ejaculation
  • Genital pain
  • Blood in the urine or semen

Note: Other health issues such as urinary infection or inflammation; bladder problems or kidney stone can cause exactly the same symptoms. Hence, should those symptoms occurred and accompanied with blood in your urine, painfully ejaculation and general pain in your lower back, hips and leg bones, significant lost of weight – you must inevitable visit your urologist for a thorough check up.

Who are at risk?

Risk factors consistently associated with prostate cancer include:

  • Age: After the age of 50, the chance of developing prostate cancer is higher. More than 80 percent of all prostate cancers occur in men 65 years and older.
  • Race: African American men have a 60% higher risk of prostate cancer than white men, including Hispanic men
  • Ethnicity: More common in North America and northwestern Europe and occurs less frequently in Asia, Africa, Central America and South America.
  • Family history: Appears to have a genetic link. Having family history of prostate cancer, a father or brother with the disease doubles a man’s risk of developing it. Man whose brother had a prostate cancer have 4.5 times higher risk of prostate cancer and 2.5 time higher if his father had a prostate cancer.
  • Vasectomy: Men who have undergone vasectomy (a surgical procedure that renders them sterile) may have an increased risk.
  • Men who have diabetes have less risk of getting the disease, although no one really knows why.

How to prevent?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce the risks from all forms of cancer:

  • Diet: The results of most studies show s diet high in animal fats and low in fresh fruit and vegetables have an increased chance of developing prostate cancer.
  • Studies show a diet high in lycopenes (found in higher levels in colorful fruits and vegetables), selenium, goji berry, broccoli and turmeric may lower the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Exercise: Maintaining a healthy weight along with regular physical activity may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Get plenty of rest- regularly scheduled bed time is important for overall health.

How is prostate cancer detected?

There are three common screening methods for prostate cancer:

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE) A digital rectal examination as part of an annual physical exam in men age of 50 or older (and in younger men who are at increased risk). During this test, a doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for abnormalities. While the rectal exam may be a bit unpleasant, it is done quickly.
  • Blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) The PSA is a blood test which measures a protein in prostate gland cells. The American Cancer Society recommends the test to be executed once a year for men 50 and older, and for younger men with higher prostate cancer risk.

Results under 4 are usually considered normal. Results above 10 are considered high. Values between 4 and 10 are considered borderline. The greater the PSA level, the greater the chance that prostate cancer exists.

The test need to be validated further with a biopsy as the PSA test cannot be used as a foolproof test for prostate cancer:

  • 2 out of 3 men with a high PSA values show no cancerous cells in their prostate biopsy.
  • 1 in 5 men with prostate cancer will have a normal PSA result.
  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) TRUS will be done if the digital rectal exam or PSA levels are abnormal. A probe is inserted into the rectum and pictures are recorded using sound waves, which create an image of the prostate gland. The test is usually done in outpatient setting and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Based on results from these screenings, additional tests may be recommended.

A positive biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis. If a biopsy reveals cancer, additional testing is done to see if it has spread to other organs:

  • Blood tests– may be taken to see if the cancer has spread
  • Bone scan– to determine if the cancer has spread to the bones
  • CT scan– a series of x-ray images taken of the pelvis or abdomen, often used to determine general signs of disease
  • Chest x-ray– to determine if cancer has spread to the lungs
  • MRI– magnetic resonance imaging to detect cancer in lymph nodes and other internal organs

What is the usual treatment for prostate cancer?

There are several treatments to treat prostate cancer: These include surgery, radiotherapy and various forms of drug treatment. Hormone therapy is commonly used. It blocks the action of testosterone, a sex hormone that prostate cancers need in order to grow.

Three treatment options are generally accepted for men with localized
prostate:

  • Radical prostatectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the entire prostate gland and nearby tissues. In some cases the lymph nodes in the pelvic area are also removed. This procedure is performed using nerve-sparing surgery which might prevent damage to the nerves needed for an erection. However, nerve-sparing surgery is not always possible.
  • Radiation therapy: Using energy to the prostate using an external beam of radiation. Patients with high-risk prostate cancer are candidates for adding hormonal therapy to standard radiation therapy.
  • Active Surveillance may be an option recommended for patients with early-stage prostate cancer, particularly those who have low-grade tumors with only a small amount of cancer seen in the biopsy.

Are there any side effects?

As with all disease, treatment may result in side effects. The most concern side effects of are impotence, or erectile dysfunction, and incontinence.

Researchers still do not fully understand what causes prostate cancer, or how it develops – and they urgently need to improve on current treatments.

Colon Cancer Screening and Medical Malpractice

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of deaths resulting from cancer. Every year, approximately 48,000 people will die in the U.S. from colon cancer. Many of these deaths would be prevented with early detection and treatment through routine colon cancer screening.

Colon Cancer Progresses Through Stages

The stage of the colon cancer determines the appropriate treatment and determines the patient’s relative 5-year survival rate which is the percentage of colon cancer patients who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed. Colon cancer progresses in stages as follows:

  • Stage 0: The disease starts as a small non-cancerous growth, called a polyp, in the colon. Some of these polyps become precancerous, and over time, turn cancerous. Growth has not progressed beyond the inner layer (mucosa) of the colon.
  • Stage 1: The cancer has started to work its way through the first layers of the colon – the mucosa and the submucosa.
  • Stage 2: The cancer has advanced beyond the first two layers of the colon and is spreading deeper through the wall of the colon into the muscularis and the serosa but is not in the lymph nodes or distant organs.
  • Stage 3: The cancer has spread to one or more of the nearby lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread to other organs (typically the liver or the lungs).

Screening for Colon Cancer

In order to detect colon cancer early, everyone, even individuals who are not at high risk, that is, with no symptoms and with no family history of colon cancer, should be screened. Cancer specialists suggest that screening for such individuals start at age 50 and consist of tests that detect colon cancer in the body:

  • Colonoscopy, at least every ten years,
  • Sigmoidoscopy, at least every 5 years,
  • Double-contrast Barium Enema, at least every 5 years, or
  • Virtual Colonoscopy (computed tomographic colonography), at least every 5 years

These tests allow a doctor to actually see the growth or cancer inside the colon. The frequency at which these tests are repeated depends on what is found during the procedure.

Cancer specialists also recommend tests that look for blood in the stool, such as:

  • Annual Guaiac-based Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT)

Such tests detect the presence of blood from tumors in the stool. Generally these tests are not as effective at detecting colon cancer as those that detect cancer in the body.

Stage of Colon Cancer Determines Treatments and Relative 5-Year Survival Rates

If the disease is detected as a small polyp during a routine screening test, such as a colonoscopy, the polyp can usually be taken out during the colonoscopy without the need for the surgical removal of any of the colon.

When the polyp becomes a tumor and reaches Stage 1 or Stage 2, the tumor and a portion of the colon on both sides is surgical removed. The relative 5-year survival rate is over 90% for Stage 1 and 73% for Stage 2.

If the disease advances to a Stage 3, a colon resection is no longer sufficient and the patient also needs to undergo chemotherapy. The relative 5-year survival rate drops to 53%, depending on such factors as the number of lymph nodes that contain cancer.

By the time the colon cancer reaches Stage 4, treatment may require the use of chemotherapy and other drugs and surgery on multiple organs. If the size and number of tumors in other organs (such as the liver and lungs) are small enough, surgery may be the initial treatment, followed by chemotherapy. In some cases the size or number of tumors in the other organs takes away the option of surgery as the initial treatment. If chemotherapy and other drugs can reduce the number and size of these tumors, surgery may then become an option as the second form of treatment. If not, chemotherapy and other drugs (possibly through clinical trials) may temporarily stop or reduce the continued spread of the cancer. The relative 5-year survival rate drops to approximately 8%.

As the relative 5-year survival rates indicate, the time frame in which colon cancer is detected and treated makes a dramatic difference. If detected and treated early, the individual has an excellent chance of surviving the disease. As detection and treatment is delayed, the odds start turning against the individual so that by the time the colon cancer progresses to Stage 3, the percentage is almost even. And the odds drop precipitously when the colon cancer reaches Stage 4.

Failure to Screen for Colon Cancer May Constitute Medical Malpractice

Unfortunately, all too often doctors do not recommend routine colon cancer screening to their patients. By the time the cancer is discovered – often because the tumor has grown so large that it is causing blockage, because the patient has unexplained anemia that is getting progressively worse, or because the patient begins to notice other symptoms – the colon cancer has already advanced to a Stage 3 or even a Stage 4. The individual now faces a much different prognosis than if the cancer had been detected early through routine screening. In medical malpractice terms, the individual has suffered a “loss of chance” of a better recovery. That is to say, because the doctor did not advise the individual to undergo routine screening, the cancer is now much more advanced and the individual has a much reduced chance of surviving the cancer. The failure of a doctor to advise the individual about screening options for colon cancer may constitute medical malpractice.

Contact a Lawyer Today

You need to contact a lawyer immediately if you feel there was a delayed diagnosis of colon cancer due to a doctor’s failure to recommend routine colon cancer screening. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal (or medical) advice. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information at this web site without seeking professional legal counsel. A competent lawyer with experience in medical malpractice can assist you in determining whether you may have a claim for a delay in the diagnosis of colon cancer due to a failure on the part of the doctor to offer colon cancer screening. There is a time limit in cases like these so do not wait to call.

Breast Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Over the course of a lifetime, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is a cancer of the breast tissue, which can occur in both women and men. Breast cancer may be one of the oldest known forms of cancer tumors in humans.Worldwide, breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, and colon cancer). Breast cancer kills more women in the United States than any cancer except lung cancer. Today, breast cancer, like other forms of cancer, is considered to be a result of damage to DNA. How this mechanism may occur comes from several known or hypothesized factors (such as exposure to ionizing radiation, or viral mutagenesis). Some factors lead to an increased rate of mutation (exposure to estrogens) and decreased repair (the BRCA1, BRCA2 and p53) genes. Alcohol generally appears to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer can also occur in men, although it rarely does. Experts predict 178,000 women and 2,000 men will develop breast cancer in the United States. There are several different types of breast cancer. First is Ductal carcinoma begins in the cells lining the ducts that bring milk to the nipple and accounts for more than 75% of breast cancers. Second is Lobular carcinoma begins in the milk-secreting glands of the breast but is otherwise fairly similar in its behavior to ductal carcinoma. Other varieties of breast cancer can arise from the skin, fat, connective tissues, and other cells present in the breast. Some women have what is known as HER2-positive breast cancer. HER2, short for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2, is a gene that helps control cell growth, division, and repair. When cells have too many copies of this gene, cell growth speeds up.

Causes of Breast Cancer

Simply being a woman is the main risk for breast cancer. While men can also get the disease, it is about 100 times more common in women than in men. The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. Nearly 8 out of 10 breast cancers are found in women age 50 or older. About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are linked to changes (mutations) in certain genes. The most common gene changes are those of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. The relatives can be from either the mother’s or father’s side of the family. Woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This is different from the first cancer coming back Many experts now believe that the main reason for this is because they have faster growing tumors. Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian women have a lower risk of getting breast cancer. Certain types of abnormal biopsy results can be linked to a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.Women who have had radiation treatment to the chest area (as treatment for another cancer) earlier in life have a greatly increased risk of breast cancer

Some pregnant women were given the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) because it was thought to lower their chances of losing the baby. Recent studies have shown that these women (and their daughters who were exposed to DES while in the uterus), have a slightly increased risk of getting breast cancer. Use of alcohol is clearly linked to a slightly increased risk of getting breast cancer. Women who have 1 drink a day have a very small increased risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. The American Cancer Society suggests limiting the amount you drink.Being overweight is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, especially for women after change of life and if the weight gain took place during adulthood. Also, the risk seems to be higher if the extra fat is in the waist area. Breast-feeding and pregnancy: Some studies have shown that breast-feeding slightly lowers breast cancer risk, especially if the breast-feeding lasts 1½ to 2 years. This could be because breast-feeding lowers a woman’s total number of menstrual periods, as does pregnancy. Women who began having periods early (before 12 years of age) or who went through the change of life (menopause) after the age of 55 have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

1.Lumps.

2.Rash.

3.Breast Pain.

4.Cysts.

5.Nipple Discharge.

6.Inverted Nipple.

Treatment of Breast Cancer

1.Hormonal therapy (with tamoxifen).

2.Chemotherapy.

3.Radiotherapy.

4.Surgery.

Breast Cancer – 101

The cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably invading near by tissue and spreading to other parts of the body via blood stream or lymphatic system.

Similarly, in breast cancer, a single cell begins to divide and grow abnormally. This is the most common kind of cancer in women. Besides being women, age is the other important factor for developing breast cancer.
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 produce milk. The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are linked by thin tubes called ducts.

The breast cancer is classified into:

-Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

-Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

-Inflammatory breast cancer

-Recurrent breast cancer

The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the cells of the ducts. Cancer that begins in the lobes or lobules is called lobular carcinoma and is more often found in both breasts than are other types of breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is an uncommon type of breast cancer in which the breast is warm, red, and swollen. Recurrent breast cancer that has come back after it has been treated.
Early detection through regular breast self-exams and a regular program of mammogram and physical exams show excellent results in curing it. Breast self exam is the process developed by the American cancer society for women to examine the breasts monthly. This process can reveal breast problem. Any swelling or unusual lumps or hardness in the breast is the indication of breast disease and a reason to rush to your doctor.

There are various factors, which increases the chance of getting disease as a breast cancer. Like:

1) Older age

2) A mother or sister with breast cancer.

3) Drinking alcoholic beverages.

4) Being white.

5) Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.

Women who have an altered gene related to breast cancer and who have had breast cancer in one breast have an increased risk of developing breast cancer in the other breast. These women also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, and may have an increased risk of developing other cancers.

Tests related to detect and diagnose breast cancer are:

1) Mammogram – In which X ray is done of the breast.

2) Biopsy – The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. If a lump in the breast is found, the doctor may need to cut out a small piece of the lump.

3) Estrogen and progesterone receptor test: A test to measure the amount of estrogen and progesterone (hormones) receptors in cancer tissue. If cancer is found in the breast, tissue from the tumor is examined in the laboratory to find out whether estrogen and progesterone could affect the way cancer grows. The test results show whether hormone therapy may stop the cancer from growing.

There are different 4 types of treatment option for breast cancer patients:

1) Surgery- Most patients with breast cancer have surgery to remove the cancer from the breast.

2) Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells.

3) Chemotherapy -Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.

4) Hormone therapy – Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream.

What is Cancer – Incidence, Diagnosis, Causation, Symptoms, Treatment and Prognosis

Cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in the Western world. Although Cancer is primarily a disease of the elderly with more than 60% of deaths from cancer occurring in those over the age of 65, cancer can strike even the youngest of children.

Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too rapidly. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue.

Most common sites are:

Prostrate 24%
Breast 13%
Lung 13%
Colon and Rectum 9%
Bladder 3%
Uterus 2.5%

The cause of Cancer is believed to be a combination of genetic factors and outside carcinogens such as tobacco, viruses, infection, asbestos, vinyl chloride, inappropriate diet.

Cancer often has no specific symptoms, so it is important that you limit your risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, the size of the cancer, and how much it affects the nearby organs or structures.

If a cancer spreads (metastasizes), then symptoms may appear in different parts of the body. As a cancer grows, it begins to push on nearby organs, blood vessels, and nerves. If the cancer is in a critical area, such as certain parts of the brain, even the smallest tumor can cause early symptoms.

But sometimes cancers start in places where it does not cause any symptoms until the cancer has grown quite large. Pancreatic cancers, for example, do not usually grow large enough to be felt from the outside of the body. By the time a pancreatic cancer causes these signs or symptoms, it has usually reached an advanced stage.

A cancer may also cause symptoms common to many other problems, such as; fever, fatigue and weight loss. This may be because the cancer uses up much of the body’s energy or it may cause the release of substances which affect metabolism.

Some lung cancers make hormone-like substances that affect blood calcium levels, affecting nerves and muscles and causing weakness and dizziness.

It is important to know what some of the general (non-specific) signs and symptoms of cancer are, but remember that having any of these does not mean that you have cancer.

Most cancers can be treated and some cured, depending on the specific type, location, and stage. The earlier the cancer is found, the better the prognosis.

A good example of the importance of finding cancer early is melanoma skin cancer. Skin cancer can be easy to remove if it has not grown deep into the skin, and the 5-year survival rate (percentage of people living at least 5 years after diagnosis) at this stage is nearly 100%.

Screening for breast cancer with mammograms has been shown to reduce the average stage of diagnosis of breast cancer in a population. Colorectal cancer can be detected through fecal occult blood testing and colonoscopy, which reduces both colon cancer incidence and mortality, presumably through the detection and removal of pre-malignant polyps. Similarly, cervical cytology testing (using the Pap smear) leads to the identification and excision of precancerous lesions.

Testicular self-examination is recommended for men beginning at the age of 15 years to detect testicular cancer.

SIGNS and SYMPTOMS

Pain may be an early symptom with some cancers such as bone cancers or testicular cancer.

Long-term constipation, diarrhea, or a change in the size of the stool may be a sign of colon cancer.

Pain with urination, blood in the urine, or a change in bladder function (such as more frequent or less frequent urination) could be related to bladder or prostate cancer.

Skin cancers may bleed and look like sores that do not heal.

A long-lasting sore in the mouth could be an oral cancer and should be dealt with right away, especially in patients who smoke, chew tobacco, or frequently drink alcohol.

Sores on the penis or vagina may either be signs of infection or an early cancer, and should not be overlooked.

Unusual bleeding can happen in either early or advanced cancer.

Blood in the sputum (phlegm) may be a sign of lung cancer.

Blood in the stool (or a dark or black stool) could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer.

Blood in the urine may be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.

A bloody discharge from the nipple may be a sign of breast cancer.

Many cancers can be felt through the skin, mostly in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes (glands), and the soft tissues of the body. A lump or thickening may be an early or late sign of cancer.

While they commonly have other causes, indigestion or swallowing problems may be a sign of cancer of the esophagus, stomach, or pharynx (throat).

A cough that does not go away may be a sign of lung cancer.

A cancer may be suspected for a variety of reasons, but the definitive diagnosis of most malignancies must be confirmed by histological examination of the cancerous cells by a pathologist.

TREATMENT

Once diagnosed, cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Radiation therapy may be used to treat almost every type of solid tumor, including cancers of the brain, breast, cervix, larynx, lung, pancreas, prostate, skin, stomach, uterus, or soft tissue sarcomas.

Most forms of chemotherapy target all rapidly dividing cells and are not specific for cancer cells, although some degree of specificity may come from the inability of many cancer cells to repair DNA damage, while normal cells generally can.

Contemporary methods for generating an immune response against tumours include intravesical BCG immunotherapy for superficial bladder cancer, and use of interferons and other cytokines to induce an immune response in renal cell carcinoma and melanoma patients.

Pain medication, such as morphine and oxycodone, and anti-emetics, drugs to suppress nausea and vomiting, are very commonly used in patients with cancer-related symptoms. transmission and disease.

Advances in cancer research have made a vaccine designed to prevent cancer available. The vaccine protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.

The consensus on diet and cancer is that obesity increases the risk of developing cancer. The cancer-fighting components of food are also proving to be more numerous and varied than previously understood, so patients are increasingly being advised to consume fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables for maximal health benefits.