Categories Other Cancers

Five Steps to Help Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Although the cause is unknown, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing breast cancer. A few simple lifestyle changes could make a big difference later in life.

  1. Family History. One of the risk factors you cannot change are genetics. 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases are said to be hereditary. Genetic testing is available, but can be very expensive. Abnormal results could also reduce your chances of obtaining life insurance. About 30% of women that get breast cancer have a family history of it. Knowing your risk factors can go along way.
  2. Breastfeeding. Studies show that women who breastfed for a total of two years or more reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50%. Researchers believe that shedding of the breast tissue during lactation may play a part in prevention. It is also believed that a hormone shift during lactation may be effective. If you choose to breastfeed, you and your baby will benefit greatly.
  3. Weight Control and Exercise. It is said that women who exercise regularly are less likely to develop breast cancer. Exercise lowers a woman’s exposure to estrogen, which contributes to cancer growth. A study done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, stated that women who exercise regularly decrease their chance of getting cancer by 22%. We know exercise is important for staying healthy, but it needs to be combined with a healthy diet. Women who gain excessive weight later in life, greatly increase their risk of developing breast cancer. Limiting your fat intake to less than 35% of your daily calories can make a big difference.
  4. Regular Screening. Regular screening may not help prevent breast cancer, but it can help you detect it in it’s early stages. It is much easier to treat when caught early. Starting at age 40, women are advised to get a yearly mammogram. A mammogram is an ex-ray exam of the breast. It can detect any abnormalities. Women in their 20’s are encourage to do a monthly breast exam. If you ever see or feel any changes, report it to your doctor right away.
  5. Limit Estrogen Exposure. A lifetime of high exposure could greatly increase your chances of developing breast cancer. Lifestyle and environmental factors can increase the levels of estrogen in your body. Therefore, it is important to know what these factors are. Things such as body weight, high fat diets, alcohol, birth control pills, and postmenopausal hormone treatments have all been shown to increase a woman’s level of estrogen. Understanding how estrogen works in the body will help you make better decisions about your body and environment.

Making a few healthy changes to your lifestyle now could make a big difference later.

Sources:
cancer.org
mayoclinic.com

Categories Prostate Cancer

Tips for Coping with Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of any sort of health problem can be rightly startling at first. First of all, a fear of the unknown and not knowing what will happen can be scary, and second, a threat to your health can feel like an invasion. You may worry about yourself, and your family. However, here are some tips to help ease your fears if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

When coping with prostate cancer, the first thing to recognize is that technology has made treatment more effective with every passing year and more men every year are beating and surviving prostate cancer.

Learning about prostate cancer will help ease your fear of the unknown. The more you know about the disease you are dealing with, the more prepared you will feel. Understanding the different aspects of prostate cancer will help you to learn about all of the methods that are used to help cure the problem. Being informed will help you to know all of the angles of the problem and how best to approach them. The more you know, the less you will fear. Read books and periodicals about prostate cancer, see a doctor who specializes in treating prostate cancer, ask that professional as many questions as you can and ask them to provide as much information as they can for combating this cancer. This will help you get on your way to a better understanding of what is happening to your body.

If you are feeling uneasy, stressed, and emotionally distressed due to the diagnosis, which is absolutely understandable, it may be a good release to speak with a therapist or an individual counselor about how you are feeling. Depression can occur when diagnosed with cancer and an individual counselor can help you to fight this depression.

Support groups are a great way to help any individual deal with any problem. Because prostate cancer isn’t all that uncommon, support groups do exist for prostate cancer. Being surrounded by a group of individuals who are going through the same experience can really help you cope with the problem. Support groups provide emotional comfort, as the group is there to listen and share their fears, experiences, worries, and successes together. This is a great way to ease the fear of being diagnosed with prostate cancer because the support group creates a feeling of belonging to a team that is together fighting the same cancer. Though having a great family and circle of friends to support you when dealing with a tough time, it may be difficult for them to understand a problem they have never been through themselves. A person in this type of support group will feel less alone when surrounded by a group that is experiencing the same thing.

Categories Other Cancers

Why Pancreatic Cancer Patients Should Consider Alternative Medicine

Like so many patients diagnosed with her type of cancer, Sue was shocked by the survival rates. Information available from the American Cancer Society showed only around one in five patients alive a year after their diagnosis. This led her consider alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer.

Overview of pancreatic cancer

According to the Mayo Clinic, the role of the pancreas is to produce enzymes that assist in digestion and hormones that help regulate how the body metabolizes sugar. The organ lies horizontally in the abdomen, behind the lower part of the stomach. It’s around six inches long and resembles a pear on its side.

Because it’s usually not detected in an early stage and spreads quickly, pancreatic cancer is often linked to a poor prognosis.

Conventional treatment

One of the most important parts of diagnosing pancreatic cancer is determining its staging. This is because the treatment options available in conventional Western medicine are linked to the stage of the malignancy. In Stage 1, cancer appears only in the patient’s pancreas. However, by Stage IV, it has typically spread to outlying sites like the lungs, liver and abdominal lining.

Traditional treatments include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Targeted therapy and clinic trials are available to some patients.

Alternative medicine

Many patients intend to review every treatment available to try to cure the cancer. This includes considering alternative – or complementary – therapies once traditional treatments offer little hope. It’s essential to discuss all options with the doctor in charge of treatment.

The National Pancreas Foundation indicates that alternative therapies are those patients can utilize along with medical treatment in order to feel better.

Massage therapy. It could treat just one area or might be a full body massage. It involves touch and a variety of techniques to stroke or knead muscles. Massage targets muscle and bone discomfort, circulation problems, swelling, difficulty relaxing and pain. It also reduces stress. Patients should make sure to hire only a licensed massage therapist.

Therapeutic touch. This is a process of energy exchange. The practitioner uses his or her hands to focus on the healing process. The premise is that a human being is a form of energy. Practitioners believe disease causes a disturbance in the balance of energy and seek to correct it. Research has revealed this alternative treatment can reduce anxiety and change the patient’s perception of pain.

Physical exercise. When a pancreatic cancer patient is physically able, exercise improves the quality of life. It can decrease stress, pain, fatigue, nausea and depression. When performed regularly, it affects the balance of hormones in the body and the heart rate positively. With a doctor’s permission, walking twice a day for short intervals at least three times a week is ideal. Other types of exercise like stretching and isometrics are also helpful.

Meditation. This type of alternative medicine can reduce anxiety, tension and distress. Focused breathing, progressive muscle relation, affirmations, prayer, yoga and guided and visual imagery are all part of it. Regular medication can help a pancreatic cancer patient’s sleep, concentration and ability to handle stress associated with pain, nausea and anxiety.

Laughter. Researchers are currently studying the benefits of laughter. Evidence suggests it can boost a patient’s immune system.

Acupuncture. This alternative therapy involves Chinese practices thousands of years old. Using very thin needles, the practitioner stimulates specific points on the body. The needles might be manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation.

One of the most important aspects of any type of alternative treatment for pancreatic cancer is assembling and relying on a support system, according to the Mayo Clinic. Connecting with cancer survivors can also prove comforting for many patients.

Sources:

American Cancer Society site

Mayo Clinic site

National Pancreas Foundation site

Categories Other Cancers

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Risk Factors

src=”https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James_Reuben/publication/224957268/figure/fig1/AS:[email protected]/Workup-for-inflammatory-breast-cancer_Q320.jpg” width=”” height=”” />Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of breast cancer that is generally not accompanied by a lump. Some of the common symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include itching, soreness, a rash which turns the skin pink or red, dimpling or a change in the skin which appears like an orange peel, nipple inversion, nipple flaking, nipple discharge, warmness of the skin, breast enlargement and thickening of the skin. While anyone can be affected by inflammatory breast cancer, it is important to be aware of the risk factors.

Gender

Women are much more likely to experience inflammatory breast cancer than men. That said, it is important to keep in mind that there is a possibility that it may affect men. Male breast cancer is fairly rare to begin with, but this form is even rarer – mostly because it is a rare form of breast cancer in general. Any man who experiences unusual breast changes should be sure to visit his doctor. Also note that men who are overweight or obese are at much greater risk of breast cancer.

Age

The most common age of diagnosis for women with inflammatory breast cancer is in their 50s. This is actually earlier than the common age for diagnosis of other types of breast cancer. That said, women can become affected by inflammatory breast cancer at any time during her life. Do not rule out the possibility of this form of breast cancer just because you are young. If you have a family history of breast cancer in which relatives were diagnosed at an early age, you may want to consider beginning annual mammograms at an early age as well.

Ethnicity

Caucasian women are less likely to get inflammatory breast cancer than black women are. However, this does not mean that a Caucasian woman or a woman of any other race is not able to become diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Never rule out inflammatory breast cancer because your ethnicity puts you at a lower risk.

Inflammatory breast cancer is known to be very aggressive. Most of this is because many women do not realize that their symptoms could be caused by cancer. Since they do not find a lump, they make the assumption that they are experiencing a rash or hormonal changes. While there is a possibility that this could be the case, it is best to be safe than sorry. Visiting your doctor any time that you experience breast changes which do not seem right is a key step to diagnosing cancer early enough to treat it successfully.

Sources:

MayoClinic.com, “Inflammatory breast cancer.”

Merck, “Breast Cancer.”