November 29, 2011

Prostate Cancer Signs

Learning about the signs and symptoms that are associated with prostate cancer can be an effective way to take the best case of prevention and early treatment of the common type of cancer in men over fifty years of age.

There are many signs that are associated with prostate cancer you should be aware of – especially in the case that you are at increased risk.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that should be watched for in the case that you fall under the

- Difficulty stopping urination or starting urination is one of the main symptoms that is associated with prostate cancer. In most cases, the patient feels the urge to urinate but they are unable to product any urine. In other cases, the patient is unable to stop the flow of urination once it has begun or they experience dribbling of the urine even after the flow has stopped.

- Any pain that is associated with urination is a common indicator of an enlarged prostate which can be associated with prostate cancer.

- Blood in the urine, or blood in the semen can be an indication of prostate cancer and should not be taken lightly. It is important to see a physician promptly in the case that there is blood in the urine or blood in the semen.

- Frequent urination can be one of the symptoms that are associated with prostate cancer or other symptoms of prostate cancer, including an enlarged prostate. This can often occur through the night and cause disruptions within the sleep patterns. As this occurs through the night, this is often one of the trigger symptoms that men notice and this causes them to seek medical attention.

- Pain that can occur through the hips and lower back are often associated with an enlarged prostate as well as being associated with prostate cancer. Unexplained pain and tenderness through these areas are often signs of trouble when they are combined with the various other signs and symptoms which are associated with prostate problems.

- Difficulty maintaining an erection. As well as difficulty maintaining an erection, many men find that they cannot obtain the erection in the first place because of the enlarged prostate.

Knowing the symptoms that are associated with prostate cancer is the main aspect of taking part in early treatment that can help to reduce the implications on the body.

As well as the signs and symptoms, it is important to be aware of the risk factors that can be seen for prostate cancer. Learning the risk factors enable you to associate signs and symptoms with the appropriate risk factor.

- Being overweight

– Consuming a high-fat diet

– Family history of Prostate Cancer

– Being African American Descent

– Smoking

– Being over the age of fifty

It is important to undergo screening in the case that you are in any of the groups that are considered high risk, as well as in the case that you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms that are associated with prostate cancer.

A simple rectal exam and blood test are two measures which can help to screen for prostate cancer and allow for early detection in the case of positive results for cancer cells.

Breast Cancer: The Most common Cancer in Women

Breast cancer can be defined as rapid and uncontrolled growth of normal breast tissues resulting into a mass formation. Breast cancer is the most common form of malignant condition in women. But it does not spare the male either. In the US alone, 182 460 female and 1990 male patients were reported as new cases of breast cancer in 2008. What is more disturbing that 40,480 female and 450 male breast cancer patients died during the same year.

According to histopathological (laboratory finding) observation, breast cancer can be classified into several categories. The commonest variety of breast cancer is adenocarcinoma. This type of cancer originates from the glandular tissues of breast, not from the collagen fibrous structures. Origin of cancer is most commonly seen in the small ducts. These are present just below the nipple. The initial stage of breast cancer is defined as Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). Extensive management with surgery and chemotherapy at this stage can cure breast cancer totally. But, unfortunately, less number of patients report to doctor in this early stage.

When the tumor cells are localized in a specific lobe of a breast, the condition is called lobular carcinoma. Some infrequent types of breast cancer can also affect patients. They are medullary breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, phyllodes tumor, angiosarcoma of the breast (cancer occurring in the blood vessels feeding breast tissue) and Paget’s disease of the nipple.

Breast cancer commonly metastasizes to the axillary lymph nodes of the same side. In later stages, it can spread to other lymph nodes of the opposite axilla and neck, bones (particularly spine), liver and brain.

Breast cancer can occur in members of the same family. But the rate is only 5-10 percent. Researchers discovered two genes – the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, which are associated with familial presentation of breast cancer. If a woman had an acute exposure to ionizing radiation in her childhood, she has a fourfold chance of developing breast cancer. Tobacco smoking, women experiencing early menarche (onset of menstruation) and late menopause, prolong use of oral contraceptive pills are known predisposing factor for breast cancer. Breast feeding can reduce the chance of occurrence. This is the reason, women without having any child have shown more chance for developing breast cancer.

The earliest symptom of breast cancer is an obvious mass in the breast. Of course, all breast lumps are not breast cancer. It is seen that more than 80% cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed after the patient has reported to her doctor after feeling a palpable lump in the breast. Whitish discharge from the nipple which is unlikely to be milk is common. The white discharge can sometimes be mixed with blood. Retraction of nipple on the affected side is common in later stage. There may be redness of the skin and pitting edema over the lump. This is characteristically seen in breast cancer giving an orange skin like appearance (Peau-dè-orange).

Breast cancer can be detected by palpation of the lump, Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology of the lump and consecutive PAP staining. Mammography is done to screen a case of breast cancer. It is recommended for every woman to examine her breast after the age of 30 to see if there is formation of any lump.

Earlier, radical mastectomy comprising removal of the whole breast tissue along with the axillary lymph nodes of the same side was done. Now, as there is advancement in the surgical technique, removal of the lump is done (conservative breast surgery). Adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy are also advised depending upon the stage of breast cancer.

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Things You Should Know About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer describes three malignant condition of the skin – Squamous cell carcinoma, Basal cell carcinoma and Malignant melanoma. The skin consists of two layers – the inner dermis and the outer epidermis. Skin cancer occurs in the epidermal layer. Therefore, all the three variants are clearly visible by naked eye and make it possible for early diagnosis. It is the most common form of all the cancers occur in human body. According to a recent survey, more than one million people get affected by skin cancer in a year. The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to Ultraviolet rays.

People with fair skin develop skin carcinoma earlier than blacks. Continuous exposure to sunlight causes exposure to UV rays. This ray can change the character of the cells present in the epidermis. Having sunburn in early childhood doubles the risk of developing skin cancer. However, sunburn in adulthood does not reduce the risk.  A person residing in high altitudes or deserts possesses greater risk towards development of skin cancer. It is seen that constant handling of some chemicals increases the possibility. Patient having family history of skin cancer has threefold chance of the same.

Exact cause of any cancer is not known. Cancer occurs due to uncontrolled and unregulated multiplication of cells.

Before the development of overt malignancy, changes of the morphology of the epidermal cells occur in quick succession. After continuous exposure to UV ray, dysplastic change occurs in the cells with deposition of keratin materials. This precancerous condition if the skin is called ‘Actinic keratosis. They are usually less than 1 cm in diameter. They may be red, skin or tan brown colored. They have a rough and sandpaper like consistency. In excess production of keratin, a ‘Cutaneous horn’ develops. There is no consolidated opinion regarding development of clear cut cancerous lesion from all ‘Actinic keratosis. But if it occurs, a lesion usually produces ‘squamous cell cancer’ of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. Most common site for this tumor is facial skin. They are slow growing tumors and occasionally metastasize. Persons having Xeroderma pigmentosum (a disease where there is inherited disorder of DNA repair) has absolute chance of developing basal cell carcinoma. There tumors appear as pearly papules, the blood capillaries are usually visible from outside (telangiectasia). Some of the tumors may contain melanin and can mimic melanomas. Advanced condition of basal cell carcinoma generally ulcerates and there is extensive local foray of bones. That is why; basal cell carcinoma was previously called as ‘Rodent ulcer’.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. It usually occurs over the sun-exposed parts of the skin. It can also occur after exposure to industrial carcinogens (tar and various oils), discharging osteomyelitis cases and old burn scars. Patients having lowered immunity also posses high risk for squamous cell carcinoma. DNA sequence of certain viruses (Human Papilloma Virus – I) are accepted as potential precursors of this type of skin cancer.

Treatment of most of the variants of skin cancer is complete, even for the aggressive cancers. The modes of treatment include – 

Surgery – complete excision of the lesion leaving a healthy margin can cure most of the cancers. Surgery followed by skin grafting may be necessary for a large lesion.

Curettages – the area is curetted and electrodessication is done afterwards.

Cryosurgery – extreme low temperature can destroy the cancer cells. It is useful in ‘Actinic keratosis.

Laser ablation – controlled beam of laser is used to kill the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy – surgically inoperable lesions are being treated with radiation therapy.