Friday, March 14, 2008

New Treatment Options For Breast Cancer (Part-2)

Hormonal therapy may also be given, as many breast cancers such as those that have ample estrogens or progesterone receptors are sensitive to changes in hormones.
Tamoxifen Breast Cancer Treatment
Those women who are genetically at high risk of developing breast cancer may benefit from tamoxifen as it has previously been seen to decrease the incidence of the disease occurring. Raloxifene, which is used to treat osteoporosis, is now being studied for treating breast cancer.

In some breast cancer cases, a woman’s natural hormones are suppressed with drugs whereas other patients find benefits by adding hormones. Tamoxifen for instance is currently the most commonly prescribed effective hormone treatment. It can be used for treating breast cancer and in the prevention of breast cancer. Tamoxifen has few side effects and can considerably improve the life span of those women who have advanced cases of breast cancer.
Fulvestrant Breast Cancer Treatment
A further treatment, Fulvestrant has recently been approved in the USA. It is planned to be used for treating hormone receptor positive metastastic breast cancer in women who have been through the menopause. It is given following antiestrogen therapy.
Monoclonal Breast Cancer Treatment
Another treatment known as monoclonal is antibodies that are antagonistic against the proteins, which are in or around cancer cells. They recognise an invader such as a cancer cell and attack it. This antibody therapy is currently being investigated holds out a lot of hope for breast cancer sufferers.

Excessive alcohol intake and obesity following menopause can increase the risk of developing breast cancer although this increase is slight. Those physically active women have a lower risk.
Preventative or Prophylactic Mastectomies
More and more women who are at a high risk of developing breast cancer are having preventative or prophylactic mastectomies to avoid them developing breast cancer.
The main risk factors for women to develop breast are age, sex and genetics. Women can do nothing about some risks so preventing death caused due to breast cancer is recommended with regular screening.

Women should undertake regular screening including self-examination, mammography and clinical breast examinations. I hope that reading the above information was both enjoyable and educational for you. That's how things stand right now. Keep in mind that any subject can change over time, so be sure you keep up with the latest news.
By: Neelima Reddy

New Treatment Options For Breast Cancer (Part 1)

Although surgery is the most effective (and hence, the most widely used) breast cancer treatment method, there are several other ways of dealing with the disease, some are more powerful than the others. These include radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, each of them with their own assets and downsides.

Most of them however are used in combination with surgery for best effects, either prior to it, in order to reduce the size of the tumor or after the operation, in order to remove any remaining cancerous cells. For a better understanding of these alternative treatment methods for breast cancer, we’ll take a closer look at each, explaining how they work and in what cases they might prove useful.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses powerful gamma rays (x-rays) which target the specific area that needs to be treated with high precision. Usually, radiation therapy is performed after surgery, to destroy any cancer cells that have not been removed or the ones that formed up where the tumor was removed. Although it can’t be used as, a treatment on its own, radiation therapy is one of the most accepted post-surgery methods of breast conserving therapy (BCT) and has a high chance of stopping the cancer from recurring. As with all treatments involving x-rays, there are some downsides to radiation therapy. First, in order to wipe out the cancerous cells that might have formed (or remained) in the area where the tumor was removed from, the x-rays will eventually damage some of the healthy tissue too. Although the process is highly precise, the rays cannot make a difference between cancerous and normal cells, so they “burn” them together.

Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs that kill the cancer cells or stop them from growing. Most chemotherapy medications are given through an intravenous line, although some are administered in pill form. Chemotherapy is a harsh regime, which often makes people feel more ill than the illness they are suffering from; however, it has been proved very effective.
Chemotherapy is a great treatment method to use both prior and after surgery. With the help of this method, you can virtually contract the cancerous tumor before the actual surgery, making it easier and less complex to remove. In addition, chemotherapy is used in the same sense as radiation therapy after the surgical intervention, to stop the diseased cells to recur.

Chemotherapy is administered usually in cycles where each cycle consists of a period of intensive treatment that lasts for a few days or weeks followed by a week of recovery. Most patients with breast cancer have two to four cycles of chemotherapy to start with before tests are performed to see what effects it has had on the cancer.
Chemotherapy is different to radiation as it can treat the whole body with the potential of finding other tumor cells that have migrated from the breast and surrounding area. Many people are familiar with chemotherapy’s side effects although the side effects do depend upon drugs to treat the patient.

The most common side effects are loss of hair, loss of appetite, fatigue, vomiting and low blood cell count making the patient more susceptible to infections, feeling sick or tired. Many notice that they bleed more than usual, especially from gums, sores and small scrapes etc.
There are three different chemotherapy strategies are used in breast cancer:
(1) Adjuvant chemotherapy – this is given to patients who have undergone curative treatment for breast cancer such as radiation or surgery. In order to decrease the possibility of the breast cancer recurrence, this treatment is given.
(2) Pre-surgical chemotherapy – this is given to shrink a large tumor and/or to kill any stray cancerous cells. This will also increase the chance that the surgery will kill the cancer completely.
(3) Regular chemotherapy – this is given routinely to people who have breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast or the surrounding local area.
By: Neelima Reddy

What Are Cancer Preventing Breast Diet?

The importance of a healthy diet in preventing breast cancer has been often stressed by doctors and health journals alike. But what exactly is a healthy diet that is conducive to breast cancer prevention? This article tries to explain – in layperson’s terms – what kind of diet is beneficial in preventing breast cancer.
Foods that Help Preventing Breast Cancer:
(i) Vitamins of the B-Complex-
Independent researches have shown that Boston and Shanghai have shown that a diet that is rich in vitamins of the B-complex is very ideal in keeping breast cancer at bay. The most powerful of the B-complex vitamins for the prevention of breast cancer are the vitamins B6 and B12 or folic acid. Folic acid has been linked with breast cancer prevention in women who are regular consumers of alcohol. Higher levels of vitamin B12 are more effective in preventing breast cancers in women who have not yet had their menopause.
(ii) Carrots
Carrots contain beta-carotene which is a precursor for the formation of vitamin A, chemically known as retinol. A research in New York has proved that women who include carrots on a regular basis in their diet have low chances of getting breast cancers. It has been found that a regular intake of carrots in the form of salads reduces the risk of breast cancers by half in women who have crossed their menopausal age.
(iii) Fish and fish oils
Fish could be the most important foods in the prevention of breast cancer. It has been found that fish oils are very beneficial in keeping breast cancer away in women who have crossed their menopause. Fish oils are effective even with risk factors such as age during the first full term pregnancy, age at first menses, age at menopause, other breast disorders, etc. Moreover, a diet that contains of a combination of fish and carrots is found to be much more highly effective than fish alone. Fish contain the omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids which are good combatants of breast cancer, as they reduce the levels of the harmful omega-6 fatty acids, which in fact promote the growth of the cancerous tissues. Thus people subsisting on a fish diet are also consuming a low fat diet. Fish is known to reduce the cases of obesity. This has been seen in people living near coastal areas whose diet consists predominantly of fish. Obesity is one of the major risk factors of breast cancer.
(iv) Vegetables
Several vegetables are identified to be anti-cancer agents. Vegetables such as parsley, cilantro, cabbage, soy, celery and parsnip have anti-cancer properties. Garlic is known to be effective in breast cancer prevention as well. Tomatoes and onions may have mild cancer preventing properties.
(v) Fruits
Many fruits have anti-cancer properties. Some of these are papayas, oranges, mangoes, apricots, blueberries, persimmons, grapes, lemons, peaches, strawberries, tangerines, etc.(vi) FlaxFlaxseeds are slowly becoming very popular in cancer prevention. They have two important ingredients that are known to fight cancer. One is the omega-3 fatty acids and the second is lignan. Flaxseeds in ground form are better than the flax oil, because they contain the necessary fibers which help in easy digestion.
Foods that can Promote Breast Cancer
There are several foods that have been identified to be responsible in promoting breast cancer. The following is a list of some of these foods:-
(i) Fatty Acids
There are some fatty acids that promote the growth of breast cancer, while some others retard it. Generally, the omega-6-polyunsaturated fatty acids are proven to increase cancer risks. Such fats are present in coconut oil and butter. At the same time, oils such as castor oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil or corn oil contain the omega-3 acids which in fact retard the formation of tumors. Hence, the diet must contain more of the omega-3 acids and less of the omega-6 acids in order to prevent breast cancer.
(ii) Red Meats
Red meats are known to cause almost all types of cancers if taken in excess. Hence, in the diet the amounts of red meats must be reduced and white meats must be increased. Red meats are mutton, beef and pork; while white meats are chicken and poultry.
(iii) Smoking and Alcoholism
Smoking is the single largest risk for breast cancers today. Women who begin to smoke early in their lives and continue on a regular basis stand at a much higher risk. Similarly, alcohols are also to be avoided. Yet, recent researches have shown that alcohol taken in conjunction with a folic acid diet may actually help in the prevention of breast cancer.Sticking to a good dietary regime could be very well the best way to prevent breast cancer. But the importance of physical activity should not be ignored. A woman can go a long way in preventing breast cancer if she takes a healthy diet and couples it with a physically active lifestyle.
By : Anna Hardy

Early Breast Cancer Detection

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, and one of the most common types of cancer in general. It is estimated that one in seven women that live to age 90 will develop breast cancer. It is especially prevalent in some families, making the statistics a bit skewed. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your chances of developing the disease are much greater. It’s therefore a good idea to stay especially vigilant for breast cancer detection.

Breast cancer detection is difficult initially since the symptoms don’t often manifest themselves until the cancer is already in its later stages of growth, and may have already metastasized to other more vital areas of the body. That is why it is so important for women to regularly get checked. Mammograms may be unpleasant, but late stage breast cancer detection is worse.
The most clear and common breast cancer detection is of course a lump in your breast. It is important to keep in mind that not all lumps are cancerous. Most women will develop numerous lumps in their breasts throughout their lives; they are especially common during periods of rapid hormonal changes such as puberty, and menstruation. Some women will have more lumps than others.
A more severe breast cancer detection will be pain in your breasts. A cancer that has grown large enough to impinge on nerves will be a noticeable lump in a self check or mammogram, so hopefully you’ll catch anything before it gets to the point of causing pain. If one or both of your breasts are in pain, again its important to keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have breast cancer. During puberty and periods of hormone fluxes, tenderness of the breasts is common. Also pregnancy, and some medications can cause pain or tenderness in your breasts.
Even though in most cases you find breast cancer detection in women over 40, women in their teens and twenties are occasionally diagnosed as well. Most people don’t know that about one percent of the cases are in men. Starting from puberty, it is a good idea to start checking yourself for lumps. Remember, during this period you’re likely to find a lot of lumps that are harmless. With some experience and some consultation with your doctor, you’ll soon get an idea of the kinds of lumps that are normal, and the kinds of lumps that may be breast cancer symptoms.
By: Muna wa Wanjiru