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What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a common term for a cancerous (malignant) tumor that starts in the cells that line the ducts and/or lobes of the breast.
What causes breast cancer?
Studies have identified numerous risk factors for breast cancer in women, including hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors that may increase the risk of the disease. Other factors include:
Personal history of breast cancer
A first pregnancy after age 30 or no prior pregnancies
Use of oral contraceptives
Family history of breast cancer
Presence of certain inherited genetic changes
History of radiation therapy to the chest
Long-term use of combined hormone therapy
Obesity after menopause
When should I begin screening for breast cancer?
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends the following early-detection screenings for women at average risk for breast cancer:
Optional mammograms beginning at age 40
Annual mammograms for women ages 45 to 54
Mammograms every two years for women 55 and older, unless they choose to stick with yearly screenings
MRIs and mammograms for some women at high risk of breast cancer
What treatment options are typically available?
The treatment options for breast cancer include:
Surgery forms the mainstay and surgical options include a mastectomy, which removes the whole breast, and a lumpectomy, or breast-conserving surgery
Will my breast cancer treatment affect my ability to have a baby?
Women of childbearing age who are being treated for breast cancer may be concerned about the impact on their ability to conceive a child in the future.You may want to consider your options for preserving fertility before starting treatment and discuss your questions and concerns with your oncologist.
What is colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as colon cancer, is cancer that develops in the colon (large bowel) or the rectum.
Who gets colorectal cancer?
Anyone can get colorectal cancer. CRC is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States, with over 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
What are the risk factors?
The common risk factors include:
Older age- Colon cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but a majority of people with colon cancer are older than 50.
African-American race- African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than do people of other races.
A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Inflammatory intestinal conditions- Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of colon cancer.
Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk – Some gene mutations passed through generations of your family can increase your risk of colon cancer significantly. Only a small percentage of colon cancers are linked to inherited genes. The most common inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and Lynch syndrome, which is also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
Family history of colon cancer – You’re more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a blood relative who has had the disease. If more than one family member has colon cancer or rectal cancer, your risk is even greater.
Low-fiber, high-fat diet.
A sedentary lifestyle.
Diabetes – People with diabetes or insulin resistance have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Obesity – People who are obese have an increased risk of colon cancer and an increased risk of dying of colon cancer when compared with people considered normal weight.
Smoking – People who smoke may have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Alcohol – Heavy use of alcohol increases your risk of colon cancer.
Radiation therapy for cancer – Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers increases the risk of colon cancer.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:
A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
Weakness or fatigue
Unexplained weight loss
Why is screening for colorectal cancer important?
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives in two important ways:
By finding and removing precancerous polyps before they become cancerous
By detecting the cancer early when it is most treatable
What are the screening tests for colorectal cancer?
Screening is done on individuals who do not necessarily have any signs or symptoms that may indicate cancer. If symptoms exist, then diagnostic workups are done rather than screening. These are the tests recommended for colorectal cancer screening:
Stool blood test (fecal occult blood test–FOBT)
Flexible sigmoidoscopy (flex-sig)
Barium enema with air contrast
What is the treatment for Colorectal cancer?
Multi-modality treatments including surgery, radiation therapy and drug treatments, such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy are available for Colorectal cancers.
Do gallstones cause gallbladder cancer?
Gallstones are the most common risk factor for gallbladder cancer. About 3 out of 4 people with gallbladder cancer have gallstones at the time of diagnosis.
Although gallstones are common, very few people with them will get gallbladder cancer.
Who else is at risk for gallbladder cancer?
Risk factors include:
Mexican Americans and American Indians
People who are obese
People who work in rubber plants or textile industries
People with bile duct abnormalities
People with a so-called porcelain gallbladder, which happens when the gallbladder wall contains calcium
People with cysts in the bile duct
Those with chronic typhoid and paratyphoid infection
Those with gallbladder polyps, especially ones that are larger than 1 cm (about one-half inch)
People with a family history of gallbladder cancer
What are the symptoms of gallbladder cancer?
There may be no symptoms in the early stages. The signs and symptoms of gallbladder cancer are like those of gallstones or an inflamed gallbladder.
Common symptoms include the following:
Pain or discomfort in the right side of the upper abdomen
A sense of fullness after eating
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Loss of weight without trying
Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or the white area of the eyes, called the sclera
How is the diagnosis of gallbladder cancer made?
If you’re having gallbladder-cancer-like symptoms, you need a complete clinical examination to begin with.
Following that, imaging modalities like CT Scan are further needed to delineate the disease.
How is gallbladder cancer treated?
Gallbladder cancer may be treated in any of these ways:
A combination of the above
Surgery forms the mainstay in the treatment for gallbladder cancer.
Adjuvant therapy is needed based on the staging of the disease.
What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
There are no specific symptoms for early-stage pancreatic cancer, but if you notice unintentional weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and stomach pain, we recommend that you visit your doctor urgently.
Why is pancreatic cancer usually found in the later stages?
Pancreatic cancer usually does not cause symptoms, so approximately 50 percent of pancreatic cancers will not be identified until they have already metastasized (spread to other parts of the body).
Can pancreatitis be a precursor for pancreatic cancer?
Yes, it can be. However, most cases of pancreatitis are unrelated to pancreatic cancer.
What are the risk factors for Pancreatic cancer?
The main symptoms are:
Age – the risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age. Most cases occur after age 65
What is the treatment for pancreatic cancer?
The only cure for this disease is surgery, known as Whipple’s procedure. Adjuvant therapies like chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be needed.
Is it possible to have full recovery from pancreatic cancer?
Yes, it is possible to have a full recovery from pancreatic cancer.
What is gastric cancer?
Gastric cancer refers to a malignant tumor arising from the stomach.
What causes gastric cancer?
The cause of gastric cancer is unknown.
Risk factors include:
A diet high in salty and smoked foods.
A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
Family history of stomach cancer.
Infection with Helicobacter pylori.
Long-term stomach inflammation.
What are the symptoms of gastric cancer?
The patient maybe asymptomatic in the early stage of the disease. Often no symptoms appear until late in the disease process, then abdominal pain and weight loss are the first symptoms. Early satiety (feeling full before enough food is consumed), nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing may be experienced (depending on the location of the tumor). If the cancer has metastasized, symptoms may arise from the area to which the cancer has spread.
How is gastric cancer diagnosed?
A physical examination may reveal a palpable mass.A patient with suspected gastric cancer should have an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to obtain tissue for biopsy. Metastatic disease can be evaluated by further tests, including a computed tomography (CT) scan.
What is the treatment for gastric cancer?
Treatment for gastric cancer includes resection (surgical removal of the cancerous portion of the stomach), chemotherapy and radiation.Chemotherapy with multi-drug regimens has been successful.
If I have a thyroid lump, does that mean I have thyroid cancer?
Having a thyroid lump does not mean you have thyroid cancer. In fact, 95% of thyroid lumps are benign.
I have a thyroid nodule. What kind of tests can I expect to have?
The doctor will take a detailed medical history and do a careful physical exam. Furthermore, an Ultrasound needs to be done along with other investigations.
What if I have thyroid cancer?
The treatment for thyroid cancer is to remove the thyroid gland, which is called a thyroidectomy. In many cases the whole thyroid needs to be removed (total thyroidectomy) along with lymph nodes surrounding the thyroid gland.
Are there other treatments for thyroid cancer?
Your surgeon and/or endocrinologist will talk about treatment choices for your condition.
Most patients are treated by surgery with or without radioactive iodine, but other therapies are sometimes needed.
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