Monday, 11 May 2020

Breast cancer: A woman’s ultimate woe.

Breast cancer: A woman’s ultimate woe.

 Cancer, the very name sends a chill down the spine and the heart shrivels at the very thought of it. If any other mentions that they are suffering with cancer then we look at them as if they won’t be able to live any longer; like looking at Death standing right in front. A person gets numb and questions as to why Death did come uninvited. But that’s harsh reality; it comes when one doesn’t anticipate at all.

Fun, laughter and merry making comes to a cinematic stop and literally one hears the bells of temples ringing. It gets scarily alone and then one finds himself in a vast desert, deafening silence and dry of hope yet eyes hawk like crazily looking for an oasis of hope. Does hope dope a person affected with breast cancer? Usually this affects women and women can get very depressed.

So, when is it that one realises that she/ he is affected with breast cancer? Usually it is easy for person to see, feel or know any abnormalities in the body; when it comes to the breast it is very obvious one does understand the changes. A BSE (breast self-examination) about a week after periods is considered best as that’s the time when breasts aren’t swollen or different in texture. 

Shania, a 43 year old woman mentions her alarm when she gets aware of her breasts, “I felt a hidden bump or lump which wasn’t there. My nipples were of different shape, rough and were firmer. The change wasn’t a pleasant one I knew for sure.”

Wahida, a lady in her late 50’s, was aghast when she found a discharge from her nipples, at times a bloody discharge with slight pain enhancing her trauma.

Amisha cried out to herself seeing an unusual lump in her armpit. She says, “My breasts seemed of a different shape but that didn’t seem so problematic, at least that was what I thought. But the nipples and were burning red hot! The shape of the nipple had changed; I needed a doctor for sure.”

Narola, 38 year old a model and socialite just couldn’t accept anything would go wrong with her figure as she took great care. “A lump in the collar bone was not to be so bothering, I assumed. But what worried me was something to be concerned about. The size and shape of one of my breasts seemed different from the other and in the same breast the nipple seemed sore yet was shrivelled with a dent. Ughs, I wasn’t well definitely.”

These were experiences of women who couldn’t understand what was going wrong with them or couldn’t accept that something was wrong with them. One should just accept the basic fact that something was actually wrong and not to use excuses and dilly dallying on this grave problem which doesn’t go thinking ‘Oh, it will go away, it’s just a small shrivel in the nipple or pain in the breast.’ This attitude of women tends to neglect and prognosticate their pain thinking ‘nothing to worry about will get over soon.

In simple words, any abnormality in the breast is a case to be examined by the doctor and only a doctor. The biggest self-harm a woman can do to herself is to neglect her health.

Men aren’t spared too, though rare cases are found. The symptoms are same and nothing differs. As one such patient narrated later that he was ‘flabbergasted to see a dent, a nipple that turned inward while the other wasn’t.

 This horror could affect women usually above 50 years but can also affect girls in their twenties. Some researchers relate a possible link between obesity and breast cancer. Shockingly true. When the doctor declares the affirmation of the most unwanted disease breeding in the body or lying in a hospital bed, thoughts run wild as to ‘why the hell was I affected’, ‘from millions why me’.

Exactly. It had to be as there were valid reasons. Reasons that may never have come across the mind or never could in the wildest realms believe that such a dreadful disease would affect one. But on scrutiny one would logically decipher that ‘that they had to be a family history or inherited genes that were cancerous; that with breast cancer in personal history. Not only this, but could also be due to ‘just being a female, and a female in old age or formerly young’. The now common ‘trend’ of women not wishing to  breast feed later on causes them this undesirable disease. At times the hormone replacement therapy causes enough problems leading to this biggest unwanted phase.

Physical inactivity, high on fatty diet could lead to problems in menstrual cycle, estrogen level; not ruling out the consumption of alcohol, smoking which all sadly turns to breast cancer. Women have many complications and this being the outcome becomes the saddest part. Lifestyle of women has drastically changed leading to what they never dreamt of. We cannot rule the exposure to radiation as something to be aware and careful of as it does cause cancer. So, pollution seems to surely be another cause.

Archita, whimpering after being detected with breast cancer, wondered what she should have done not to get into this disgustful state. The Doctor calmly said, “When you know the causes, you know the solutions.”

How true, in this new social thought pattern of women try to live the life of someone else, something the body rejects in the form of breast cancer. Women and men need to be grounded and take life seriously. Of course, one can’t avoid the other factors leading to breast cancer like hereditary or genes but one can surely consult a Doctor, who knows all and gives a chance for life, the life neglected and taken for granted.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

early signs of breast cancer

Detecting a lump on your breasts can be stressful for any women. Breast cancer is a common type of cancer and is said to affect primarily affect women though 1% of breast cancer cases affect men.

Breast cancer can be categorized into different types based on their capability to affect surrounding tissues.

The most common amongst these are:

Ductal carcinoma in situ

Invasive ductal carcinoma

Invasive lobular carcinoma

Breast cancer is caused by mutations of a person’s DNA cells. This could be inherited from one’s parents or acquired by an unhealthy lifestyle. These DNA mutations cause cells in the breast tissue to multiply rapidly and turn cancerous.

The risk factors for breast cancer can be categorized as modifiable and non-modifiable.

Modifiable risk factors:

Excessive alcohol consumption


Use of combined hormone therapy after menopause

Lack of exercise

Non-modifiable risk factors:


Family Medical History

Personal Medical History

Atypical hyperplasia

Early start of menstruation cycle

Presence of dense breast tissue

Inherited genetic mutations

As with any other type of cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. In its early stages, breast cancer is not painful and has negligible symptoms.

In most cases, it is detected only by finding a lump on the breast or through a mammography. This lump may also be present in the armpit or above the collar bone.

Some of the other symptoms of breast cancer include:

Nipple inversion

Discharge from the nipples

Changes in the colour and texture of skin covering the breast

Breast cancer has five stages beginning from 0 and going up to 4. This is based on the size of the tumour, involvement of lymph nodes and whether or not metastasis has occurred.

Stage 0: At this stage, the tumour does not affect the lymph nodes and has not metastasized. Thus at this stage, it is noninvasive.

Stage I:  In this case, the tumour is smaller than 2 cm in diameter and has not spread to any of the surrounding tissues.

Stage II: In this stage, the cancerous tumours are still fairly small in size but also affect the surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage III: These tumours are larger than 5 cm in diameter and involve the lymph nodes to a greater extent.

Stage IV: This is also known as metastatic breast cancer. In this stage, the cancer cells metastasize to other parts of the body.

Surgery is the most preferred form of treatment for breast cancer. 

This may be combined with radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormone therapy depending on the stage and type of cancer, the patient's overall health, age and personal preferences.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Oral Cancer - Know Signs Of It

Oral Cancer - Know Signs Of It!

Oral cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells called tumors that invade and damage the tissues surrounding it in or around the mouth. Oral cancer, like all other types of cancer, is life threatening if not diagnosed and treated in the early stages. There are eight types of oral cancer namely cancer in the throat, sinuses, hard and soft palate, floor of the mouth, gums, cheeks, tongue and lips. Dentists are usually the first ones to notice and detect the signs and symptoms of oral cancer. This condition is also known as oral cavity cancer. The risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer are mentioned below.


The symptoms of oral cancer, especially in the first stages, seem non- threatening and similar to common oral problems. However, visiting the doctor is mandatory to rule out cancer as an option. If you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms, visit your dentist immediately.

1. Thickenings and swellings, lumps or bumps, crusts, eroded areas or rough spots on the lips, gums or surrounding regions inside or around the mouth.

2. Bleeding in the mouth that is unexplainable.

3.  Persistent sores near and around the mouth or throat that bleed easily and may take more than two weeks to heal.

4. Unexplained numbness or pain and tenderness in the mouth, throat or face.

5. Development of patches which are usually speckled, red or white in the mouth.

6. Sudden weight loss.

7. Excruciating pain in your ear.

8. Loose teeth.

9. Difficulty in swallowing.

10. Lumps in your neck.

11. Stiffness or pain in your jaw.

12. Pain in your tongue.

13. Dentures that fit poorly.

Risk factor:

Men above 50 years of age face the greatest risk of developing oral cancer. Women are at a much lower risk of developing oral cancer than men.

The following factors increase your risk of developing oral cancer-

1. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes

2. Snuff, dips or chewing tobacco

3. Consumption of alcohol excessively

4. History of oral or other types of cancer in the family

5. Chronic sun exposure, especially facial exposure

6. Sexually transmitted virus such as HPV

7. Diagnosed of oral cancer previously.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Testicular Cancer - Can It Affect Sexuality?

Testicular Cancer - Can It Affect Sexuality?

Testicular cancer is mostly witnessed among young adults in the age range of 24–35. It results from the growth of abnormal cells in the testes. It is not the most common type of cancer found in the body, but can pose a serious threat to an individual if not treated early. The cure rate is one of the highest among all kinds of cancer found in the body. This being said, the rate of cure is totally dependent on the stage of detection.

Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer

The historical trend of testicular cancer suggests that white men are prone to this type of cancer than their African, Asian and Latino counterparts. A person with a family history of testicular cancer of HIV is at higher risk of getting this disease. Some other risk factors include Klinefelter’s syndrome and cryptorchidism.

Protection from Testicular Cancer

There is no hard and fast rule of protection. It is suggested that the testicles get evaluated while routine medical check-up. A person with a family history of testicular cancer should opt for a periodic checkup after every three months. In case a patient has already recovered from testicular cancer, routine medical tests are a must to ensure non-recurrence.

Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

The common symptom is a swelling in the testicle. It feels like a thickening of the testicle and is mostly painless. Minor discomfort in the swelling region is often reported. Some other symptoms include back pain, ache in the scrotum and groin, change in the size of the testicle, bloating of the lower abdomen and heavy sensation of the scrotum. There is a rare form of this cancer, which produces a female hormone called estrogen in a man’s body. This disease results in a lack of sexual desire, lump in the affected area, etc. Even less serious testicular cancer might show these symptoms. An oncologist should be immediately consulted if one or more of these symptoms surfaces.

What are the treatment options?

Testicular cancer is mostly cured with the help of a surgery. A follow-up radiation and chemotherapy is suggested by doctors to destroy the surrounding cells. It is done to ensure that the cancer cells do not spread easily and the chance of recurrence is minimal. The rate of cure depends on early detection.

Does testicular cancer affect sexuality?

In most of the cases, testicular cancer is detected in one testicle. If this is the case, the other testicle produces all the hormones needed for sexual drive. It also does not affect sex drive, beard and muscularity. There is also a large section of patients who reported of a difficult sexual life after the surgery. There can be some discomfort in the scrotum as well.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

precision medicine in cancer care

The  new paradigm in cancer management – precision medicine

A form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.

Most standard chemo drugs work by killing cells in the body that grow and divide quickly. Cancer cells divide quickly, which is why these drugs often work against them. But chemo drugs can also affect other cells in the body that divide quickly, which can sometimes lead to serious adverse effects

With the advancement of scince a lot of information has been gathered regarding the genes and proteins that cause the formation, growth and spread of cancer cells.

This new information is now being utilized to specifically design drugs that target these genes and proteins

There are many different types of cancer, and not all cancer cells are the same. For example, colon cancer and breast cancer cells often have different gene changes that help them grow and/or spread. Even among people with colon cancer, the cancer cells can have different gene changes.

Therefore for each patient a portion of the tumor tissue is taken and subjected to molecular and genetic analysis and depending on the target identified specific drugs are administered to counter their effects – hence the name ‘precision medicine’

How it works –

  • Block or turn off chemical signals that tell the cancer cell to grow and divide
  • Change proteins within the cancer cells so the cells die
  • Stop making new blood vessels to feed the cancer cells
  • Trigger your immune system to kill the cancer cells
  • Carry toxins to the cancer cells to kill them, but not normal cells

More effective with better side effect profile. May be administered in outpatient setting. Better quality of life

Before 2001, fewer than 1 in 3 people with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) survived more than five years after diagnosis. Then, along came Gleevec. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug as a targeted treatment for CML in 2001. Treatment for CML hasn’t been the same since. A 10-year follow-up study showed that 83 percent of people using the drug survived 10 years, some well beyond the decade mark. They did so without unacceptable toxic effects.

Long-term results from a major international clinical trial reveal that a fifth of patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) continue to survive a decade after first taking the targeted drug imatinib, also known as Glivec.

Some 10% of patients are still on the trial after 10 years, living free of any progression of their cancer – providing evidence that targeted cancer therapy can deliver dramatic, long-term responses even in patients with advanced cancer that has spread round the body.


Sr Consultant – Cancer Surgery

Sahara hospital

SM Cancer Centre

A26, Faizabad road


Breast cancer: A woman’s ultimate woe.

Breast cancer: A woman’s ultimate woe.   Cancer, the very name sends a chill down the spine and the heart shrivels at the very thought...